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Every sound on Bones lives in the foreground. On (sort of) opener 'Change Is Everything', the chorus erupts for a snare tone that sounds like a revving engine while warming keyboard strokes ground each jolt. It's exciting, and establishes early on how overarching and direct everything Son Lux produces is. There isn't much detail or nuance to pull from repeated listens with everything being so flashy, but there are few artists that come off as bold.

The best song is 'Undone'. The vocals are as pointed as the rest of the album, but their pairing with a makeshift electronic drum kit make them the least distracting on the album. There are chugging hi-hats, sparsely used snares, and cymbal tones that act more as high end noise than sticky punches. With Radiohead flare, guitar arpeggios join around the 50-second mark that prove to be the most acoustic moment of Bones. With bouncy hand drumming and an outro that respects and challenges the bulk's propulsion, I find myself wishing more of the album were as flowingly fun.

However, on few other moments am I not under attack. 'Undone' laments the loss of youth, but most lyrical tales on Bones fail to deliver frame of reference or even an explanation on why Ryan Lott is so afraid for the future; and why he's trying so hard to prove it to his audience. The missing element is the answer to simple questions: "We are the ones this time" is numerously repeated on 'This Time'. Which time, you ask? Perhaps it's a political and social warning, but there are almost no clues pointing to this or other conclusions. Fortunately, there are many mentions of the album's title in different contexts throughout the songs. These are tangible when I'm feeling lost in search for specificity.

It's easy to rag on Lott for being vague, and it might have been the intention all along to simply insist that something is horribly wrong with the subject's environs. That being said, details in songwriting would have been exquisite when paired with such bombastic musicality. The beats are concise and compact, and I love the moments of unabashed indebtedness to great artists; namely the awesome affected xylophone beat straight out of Björk's Biophilia on 'Now I Want'. Lott is "aiming his weapons down" on this track, but I still don't know what for or what's got him "crying out to be free." It's lost in a thrifty beat drop that sputters one single note while the instrumentation is absent. It sounds like a raindrop on a lake, and comes off like the song is flashing a subliminal reminder of a reality that's pleasantly absent throughout the rest of the handclaps and backing vocals.

Speaking of which, the interplay between male and female vocal lines is a great touch, and it occurs on a handful of tracks. 'You Don't Know Me' and 'White Lies' are both laden with a several ideas. But, on each, the female vocal says nothing more about the story that Lott didn't already. The former sounds like it's recalling a romantic experience, and I thought I would gain perspective on the story from another vocalist. Instead, I'm left thinking that it was placed there simply because Lott's vocals alone are stagnant and unmoving in their ominous tone (the welcome calm at the beginning of 'I Am The Others' aside). The last thing I want to get in my head is that Lott employed other vocalists just to make up for his own lack of variance. If these calls to action ("You have only just begun"/"Your world will come undone"/"This moment changes everything") were the only ammunition he had to load his electronic gun, there should have been a softer, simpler pop when it went off. Instead, the most cluttered and brash tracks are right at the front of the record. By the time 'Your Day Will Come' cuts the tension at track 7, I'm already spent.

I can't discount what Lott has already accomplished. It's romantic to see a New York City dude in the commercial music industry take a successful step out, peaking in work with Serengeti and Sufjan Stevens in the too-good-to-be-true trio of Sisyphus. But, where these (and other) collaborators stepped away from the project to make their best, most direct releases, Son Lux walked away with a lot of charm and not a lot of depth. It's these facts about Lott that make me really want to like Bones more than I do. There's something to be said about an album that you root for in this way; even if the stubbornness of this record's doomy attitude is repeatedly the bulk of what's gleaned.

For better or worse (I'm not sure, yet), I do enjoy that Bones is so short. Like an electropop haunted house, little samples and harsh notes pop out of every nook and cranny. 'Flight' launches in with echoing, buzzing eighth-note synth tones that complement the whispery lyric in between quick bursts of jittery, flutelike tones. When a straightforward kick/snare pattern comes through around 1:45, it's impossible to not bob your head. This isn't to say that you can dance throughout the album since the ADD feeling of the production frustratingly switches the pulse often enough to keep these tracks out of the club scene despite their apparent genesis at such a setting. Son Lux's remix value is through the roof, settling nicely along the lines of Purity Ring's debut, The xx, or even some of Thom Yorke's solo tracks. That said, each of these examples are revered, but not lived up to. Yorke carries a sense of similar foreboding, but he never fails to give specific examples of what exactly it is that's making him nervous for his children's generation. "Something is coming, but you don't know what," says Lott on 'Undone', like an Ayn Rand novel in 808 music land. If I ever meet the guy, I'll ask him if he knows what that something is.

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