• WOCR Staff

"Dead Man's Bones" by Dead Man's Bones- a hyperbolic review.


Ryan Gosling, women want him men want to be him, if we learned anything from the 2016 film “La La Land” is that Ryan Gosling can act like he can play piano, but wait it turns out Ryan Gosling is an actual musician. We’re not talking a Johnny Depp style celebrity musician where he wears the musician title around like a fashion statement Ryan Gosling actually has some actual chops. In 2007 after discovering a mutual love of the Haunted Mansion theme park ride Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields decided to start a horror, gothic, dark wave band together dubbed Dead Man’s Bones. Composed of only Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields both members have had a small presence online as a fun fact trivia question but the band would rise up to chief status of actual band with a record status with “Dead Man’s Bones” released in 2009.

Released in collaboration with Silverlake conservatory of Music’s children’s choir (formed by several musicians from The Red Hot Chili Peppers). The album opens up on some moody dark poetry and ambient sounds. Naturally any sane person would turn on a big red light and immediately prepare for some pretentious flavor as the intro track moves into “Dead Hearts.” “Dead Hearts” begins with a slow pulse of guitars and moans that seems to try and relax the listener. Percussion hits build this track into “In the Room Where you sleep” which is where the album officially begins three tracks in. In retrospective it would be better if the album cut out the 50 second intro track and started with “Dead Hearts,” the flow of the album would work out better and stronger building mystery. “In the Room Where you sleep” the album introduces us to a keyboard of creeps and the real flavor of Dead Man’s Bones. It’s hard to believe this is all just two guys. “In the Room Where you sleep” may come in about six minutes in but it’s a strong indicator of what the duo’s sound is capable of producing. Then comes “Buried in Water” and in this we are introduced to the children’s choir almost immediately. To call “Buried in Water” creepy is an understatement, the children’s choir provide a haunting chorus with a beautiful melody that steals the show and proves why the album needed a whole children’s choir.

Track five’s “My Body’s a Zombie for you” is good, just that good. Nothing more nothing less. “Pa Pa Power” is probably the most likely to please a general audience but it’s far from the best track on this album. “Pa Pa Power’ is catchy as hell, but holds no weight to “In the Room Where you sleep,” “Buried in Water,” or as we will find out later, “Lose your Soul.” (There’s some foreshadowing for you kids!) “Young and Tragic” and “Paper Ships” have cool ideas, but are probably the low point of the album for everyone involved. They don’t come across as memorable save a few ideas here and there, and they just fill some space before the main event. “Lose your Soul” nine tracks in and it’s probably the tightest performance between everyone involved. This song alone symbolizes everything this band does right with the children’s choir as both entities stand on equal footing and only benefit the song. “Werewolf Heart” is probably the weakest tragic as after owning this record for a year I can’t remember anything about it. “Dead Man’s Bones” on the “Dead Man’s Bone” album performed by Dead Man’s Bones is a song about how we are all surrounded by dead man’s bones is probably one of the weaker songs written by Dead Man’s Bones but “Dead Man’s Bones” deserves some praise for being able to be incredibly meta and actually having a really nice beat. The album then concludes with “Flowers Grow out of my Grave” an ending that, much like a lot of the endings of renowned horror author H.P. Lovecraft, falls flat and doesn’t really resolve the album. The strengths of this album are clearly the ability of Dead Man’s Bones to be able to arrange their songs into such complex jammed up mechanisms of sounds that all seem to work together and nothing overpowers its other pieces. Unfortunately, the album has a few pacing problems and could stand to take out the odd track or two. If anyone wants to cry themselves to sleep at the prospect of not being invited to the big Halloween party this year please be aware that listening to this album won’t make you fell less lonely, but it wouldn’t exactly be the worst thing to ever listen to. “Dead Man’s Bones” is an above average album with strong horror themes that has no reason to be as good as it is.


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