White Bone Rattle – Creature Of Curiosity
As White Bone Rattle cite the likes of The Doors and Cream as influences – as well as more contemporary acts like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Black Keys and Tame Impala – it should come as no surprise to learn that their debut album is drawn from the more scuzzy, atmospheric and melodic part of the rock and roll universe. But if you’re thinking of dismissing them as just another bunch of uninspiring space-rock chancers, Creature Of Curiosity will play out as a nice surprise for you.
While most of the typical drug-rock ingredients are present in Creature Of Curiosity – the trudging tempo, scuzzy guitar riffs and washed-out blues-rock outlook – the most notable feature is the strong songwriting and composition, which puts melody and intensity at the forefront.
Solid album opener ’Eyes Of The Island’ establishes this straight away, with a building Spiritualized-esque intro which soon catches fire and morphs into a riff heavy crowd-pleaser. The riff-led ’Milk’ follows suit, and although it kind of sounds like Gomez covering Wolfmother, it’s a lot better than that!
As solid as the opening two tracks are, the album starts to get really interesting when we get to lead single ’Miss Mist’, which slows things down to a satisfyingly spaced-out glam stomp. The title track keeps up the swampy feel with a dirty riff and barely-breathed vocals, which leads nicely into the more spacious and vibrant ’The River Will Rise’ – a song that owes more to Britpop than 70’s stoner-rock.
Everything seems to come together for ’The Green Hour’, probably the most epic and involving song Creature Of Curiosity has to offer, which carries on into the howled intensity of ’Horse’.
Although White Bone Rattle bill themselves as psychedelic rock, that proves to be slightly misleading as you work through Creature Of Curiosity – with the predominant force being slightly claustrophobic blues-stomp rather than the expansive swirling psychedelia of current psych-rock favourites Tame Impala. The albums only notable psych-rock foray comes with the more expressive ’When I Return’, which heralds a welcome lightening of the mood and a bit of space to breathe.
White Bone Rattle are definitely a band who stick to what they are good at, but there are dangers with that – especially when what you are good at is mid-tempo downer-blues. As Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have proved, this approach can lead to brilliant live performances – but can be difficult to sustain an entire album. As it is with Creature Of Curiosity, with little variation in the well established formula, the final tracks seem to drift by and get lost in the swampy murk.
On the whole though, Creature Of Curiosity is a solid and enjoyable scuzz-rock album which suggests there may be a lot more to come from White Bone Rattle.