Sonic Reducer: Micro Reviews Of Behold, A Pale Horse, Roll On And Pain Is Beauty

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UK artist Ebony Bones, who was Amy Winehouse’s classmate, earned her stage name from the Damned’s Rat Scabies and collaborated with Damon Albarn, Cee Lo Green and Yoko Ono. She brings a comparable eclecticism to Behold, A Pale Horse. Bones seems more concerned with showcasing her producing talents than with being a vocal virtuoso. Examples include directing the Mumbai Symphony Orchestra on the eponymous opener and the New London Children’s Choir on a Smiths’ cover. Bones’ voice—think late-life Poly Styrene/Grace Jones/Kathleen Hanna—isn’t heard until hypnotic second song “I See I Say,” where her vocals nestle amidst a clapping, chanting chorus. A seamless blend of orchestral world beat, indie dance, electronica and post-punk, Behold bursts with opulent confidence. (M. Brianna Stallings)

The Tumbleweeds Roll On (Self-released)

A fair description of this band would be “safe.” The Tumbleweeds adequately replicates the country and western sound of yore, and the band is obviously composed of capable musicians. But beyond that, there’s nothing exciting happening here. Like so many revival-minded country groups, the whole production is more or less a parody. On the other hand, the band sounds dependable. You know what you’re getting, and no one is going to be threatened or overly challenged by their music. These guys are doing it by the book; I just wish they’d written some of it themselves. (Geoffrey Plant)

Chelsea Wolfe Pain is Beauty (Sargent House)

Cult icon Chelsea Wolfe releases her third studio outing, Pain is Beauty, on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Stygian, drone/black metal-inspired siren Wolfe delivers her earnest compositions live at Low Spirits the very next evening. As a whole, Pain fully embraces electronics, particularly synths, but Wolfe’s plaintive soprano—joined together with fierce confessional lyricism—and lambent strings are more than capable of raising goosebumps. Standout tracks include “We Hit a Wall,” “The Warden,” “Sick” and “The Waves Have Come.” Experience the maturing grime and glow of the lady Wolfe, and forever elevate your standards for the divination of goth-folk. (Samantha Anne Carrillo)

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