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Review: Justin Robinson & the Mary Annettes, Bones for Tinder

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012

Updated: Thursday, January 19, 2012 13:01

Justin Robinson & the Mary Annettes

Bones for Tinder

(Five Head Ent.)

Grade: B-


Gothic bluegrass was bound to happen. Or, as the band prefers to say on its Facebook page: "Post-Civil War Hip-Hop." (They'd also have you believe they're inspired by possum hair.) But, that's strangely an appropriate description. The band is as modern as the term roots-y can get without crossing over to annoying fringe genres like "baroque folk."

Bones for Tinder is technically Justin Robinson's first solo full-length since leaving the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops and it's looking like a win-win situation for everyone.

A viola, violin and cello swoop and plunge over Robinson's own autoharp, fiddling and guitar. The mood of the album is mostly melancholic, especially on standouts "Nemesis of Me" and "Bonfire." "Vultures," the first single off the album, is by far one of the most accessible and groovy tracks on Bones. "Bright Diamonds" and "Kissin' and Cussin'" are straight up wicked folk-hop tunes: "Tell me pretty baby/Do you think you're too sweet to die?"Robinson asks menacingly on the latter.

"Ships and Verses," a little choppy to start, like a ship finding its way, has got a bit of an attitude and recalls catchy lines from popular songs like "Hips Don't Lie" and "Walk It Out." The only all-instrumental track, "Ill Lil' Babes" sounds like a remixed classical piece and leads right into one of the better tracks on the album, "The Phil Spectors." The album closes with a stringy cover of The Kills' "Gypsy Death & You," which Robinson's vocals smooth over.

Bones for Tinder exists in a time warp in which 19th century voodoo meets the 21st century lexicon. And we like it.


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