Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Neon Bone- Year Zero

One man projects require a very special breed of person to work. They are the truest test of a person's ability as both musician and composer. If it sucks, there's no team of people to stand behind and as far as I'm concerned, Lars Hannemann has never had to worry about that. There was something very attention grabbing in his powerful yet melodic voice and perfect understanding of pop punk/punk rock, keeping it simple with no bullshit while still making a big statement the first time I heard Neon Bone a couple years ago. Ever since his start in 2010, he's stayed busy with several releases and the quality of his work only increases each time so I'm always excited to see the news coming from Münster, Germany that he's got something new ready! A wonderful EP called "Year Zero" is his latest statement and it took all of a few seconds for me to fall for these songs, so here I am to tell you about it!

The songs were recorded during the late Spring and Summer of this year at Unterschichten Records in Münster,Germany by Sascha Wiesbrock, also acting as producer with the exception of 7-8, which were recorded by Neon Bone. Another thing I enjoy about this band is that his album covers are always different with no two in his discography being similar. This time he went with a great live shot by Disorderlovenpeace and the layout was done by Lars. Release happened November 28th and it's available on cassette through Uga Uga Tapes, Kill All Human Records, Trim Tab Tapes, and Eccentric Pop Records. The tape does come with a download code and digital only can be acquired through Neon Bone's bandcamp page where the EP is also streaming in full. 

As I mentioned earlier, I've always liked Lars' songs very much due to the traditional approach in how he plays, giving a lot of respect to pop punk's true foundation while adding in individuality with his own unique presence. He could have easily fit into the the 90's alongside Lookout bands but lucky for us, he's here in the now to make sure that spirit continues! Side A starts out with the great and upbeat "You're Alive", showcasing what makes me a fan of this band. Vibrant and emotionally open vocals, simple yet powerful arrangement, and a beautiful solo. He's got it down to a punk rock science and while that's the thread that holds his work together, there is also a heavy streak of 50's/60's beauty going on in a few songs. My top pick, "Will You Be There Tonight" is one. With the closely paired harmonies it has such a Everly Brothers sound and I love it! Those early elements of rock 'n' roll are what gave birth to punk rock so it is vital that they remain in present day and it's always refreshing to see someone understand that. There's another lovely ballad on this side, "I Turn To You" that I found myself smitten with as well but make no mistake in thinking that's all Lars has up his sleeve this time!! Side B kicks off with "Don't Give It Up Now" a faster paced one with wonderfully positive lyrics for someone in a rough patch and a great bridge. I'm always curious to see what cover song he will choose next because they are never common and always interesting. Staying within that practice he chose the 1963 version of the Blue Diamonds "Sukiyaki" and every bit of the Dutch/Indonesian brothers' harmonic character carries through in his take on the song, just translated to punk rock style and I like it! The EP closes out with the romantic "I Wanna Be With You" and the natural choice for me is just to listen to them all again.

Stream the songs and pick up the tape from any of the labels(Eccentric Pop should have theirs soon!). "Year Zero" is simply a little gem of an EP and I'm glad to close out this year's series of reviews with it. Things are always moving along at Neon Bone headquarters so there are a couple more pieces of information I wanted to pass along. First, the last full length album "Good Things About You" is now up for free download(as well as all previous releases) so if you missed out on it, now's your chance to catch up! Second, Lars is hard at work putting together the next batch of songs as we speak which will be released next year on none other than Monster Zero Records so stay tuned to the story as it develops by liking the Neon Bone facebook page if you haven't yet. I'm very much looking forward to that! 

Neon Bone is...
Lars Hannemann

All songs written by Neon Bone except "Sukiyaki", written by Rokusuke Ei and Hachidai Nakamura 

Side A
1. You're Alive
2. Will You Be There Tonight
3. Nothing I Would Rather Do
4. I Turn To You
Side B
5. Don't Give It Up Now
6. Did You Forget Me
7. Sukiyaki
8. I Wanna Be With You

No comments:

Post a Comment