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Album Review - Still Bones: 'Dopeful'

(Photo Credit - Cara Gamble, Cara Liane Photography)

Album Review - Still Bones: Dopeful (July 9, 2021)

Still Bones, newcomers to the alternative world, will be dropping their debut LP, Dopeful, this Friday, and it is worth checking out. The band, composed of John Gamble and John Burkhardt, hails from Baltimore, Maryland, a city known for its indie rock scene. A man of many talents, Gamble contributes melodic vocals, ethereal guitar and keyboard riffs, and introspective lyrics to the band’s sound. Burkhardt supports throughout with the addition of soft percussion and drum fills.

The album opens with “Treeling”, a lilting instrumental piece that starts out slowly and gains tempo towards the end. The catchy guitar picking and rhythmic drumming, accentuated by light vocalization, serves as an interlude to the rest of the album. It is followed by Dopeful, the title-track of this guitar-driven album. The woeful lyrics express a sense of hopelessness and a lack of direction that most people experience at least once in their lives. Gamble sings:

“Too young to be burnt out

Moving forward, I fear I’m past my prime.

I don’t wanna forget

I just wanna be comfortable and numb.

I’m too filled with regret.

I’m just gonna smoke weed ‘til I’m dumb.”

This song brings to mind an image of melting into the couch after a long, hard day of being underappreciated at that corporate job, and the fear that comes with not living up to one’s own expectations. Although this song clocks in at 3 minutes and 44 seconds, the last minute and a half is strictly instrumental, showcasing the duo’s technical talent.

“Smoke & Mirrors” is a personal favorite, and it has the distinctly louder, more distorted sound of shoegaze music. Rounding out the 11-song album is “Tying Knots”, a beautiful love song with vocal assistance by Ryan Smith. Keeping with the guitar-forward sound of the album, this song begins with a mellow guitar riff that accentuates the loving mood of the song. One can only imagine this song being sung to “that special someone” after an argument.

Dopeful has the nostalgic feel of early 2000’s indie rock while also bringing new sounds to the table Still Bones sets the tone that they are ready and willing to stake their claim in the alternative scene. Check out their album when it drops Friday!

Rating - 3.5/5

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