Scranton-based rock group, Skin-n-Bones creates its own niche with “Listen Up”
Since their 2009 inception, Scranton-based grime-rock outfit Skin-n-Bones has preached the gospel of “dirty” rock ‘n roll – it’s emblazoned on their merch, and it’s smudged into their Les Paul-laced, Marlboro-ashed aura.
If you can imagine the knock-kneed swagger of the late Scott Weiland fronting the Rolling Stones circa 1969, in all their drug-hazed fury, then you get what Skin-n-Bones is about. On “Listen Up,” an eight-song testament to the glorious decadence that is rock, the band goes for broke via tasty grooves, anthemic choruses, and twist-in-the-tale lyrical volley.
Recorded in full analog splendor at Moosic’s Holland Sound, and produced by ex-Badlee Bret Alexander, the music breathes the same crackled life as classic AC/DC fare a la “Powerage” — guitarists Donny Engle and John Roman playing the role of the Young brothers to a high-voltaged tee. The rippling riffs in “Break” are evidence of such tempered six-string marksmanship, with the cocky yet light-touch vocals of Robbie Rosencrans trying to come down from the pressures of “a hell of a day.”
“Live My Life” is equally as brash in lyrical tone; the band’s defiance and third-finger salute in play through lines like “when you look for trouble, it always comes your way,” sitting atop a decidedly Slash/”Use Your Illusion I”-flavored groove.
Perhaps the most exemplary nod to Skin-n-Bones’ mission statement is “Anxiety,” a clenched-fist rocker with the infectious “tight squeeze, can’t breathe” chorus enhances the nervous energy of the track – bassist Todd Costantino and drummer Paul Davies locking horns ferociously. “Desire” treads the same sonic ground, with sleazed-out riffs for days and shout-it-out-gang vocals – sounding like a lost cut from the Sunset Strip halcyon days of L.A. Guns debut album. The band isn’t all braggadocio and bluster, as it shows it can musically offset its attack with numerous mid-song breakdowns and interludes throughout – cracking the whip on a dime.
If rock ‘n roll is dead, then Skin-n-Bones never got the memo. The band turns a blind eye to contemporary musical trends and wisely follows its own path, carving out a very distinct slice of musical pie in the NEPA original landscape.
If loud, anti-PC, and living like there’s no tomorrow is your bag, you can do no better than the party in a box that is “Listen Up.”
Mark Uricheck is a Weekender correspondent who writes weekly CD reviews. Reach Weekender at [email protected]
“Listen Up” by Skin-n-Bones