Rants on Fire

Boolean Operators

Rant Are Our Bones

Self-Released, 2015

Review by Kent Manthie                                                           Boolean Operators Rant Are our bones cover

Something new from fab indie band, Boolean Operators, is just out. It’s a 12-song album entitled Rant Are Our Bones. It’s another true indie delight: self-released, DIY, no interference with anyone anywhere – only their own imaginations and musical chops would limit them and neither seem to be handicaps for these guys.

With songs that average about two minutes apiece, Rant Are Our Bones doesn’t take up too much of your time. That is one aspect of music coming out over the past, uh…let’s say 10 years or so: as opposed to the earlier years of CDs and many bands use (or over-use) of the 75 minutes available to record, they’d take up as much time as they could so as not to “waste” any space. The result was, in many cases, albums which contained about the average vinyl album’s length of good stuff and then, after about 45-50 minutes, kept going, almost, it seemed, just to fill the space. This wasn’t true with every album, but I can recall a great number of CDs in the early 90s, for example, which just had, like, 14-16 songs, but really only had about 9-10 which were good. There were some that did make full use of all that space and made some albums which were good all the way through. But, over the past two decades, I’ve seen a lot of albums coming out that have reduced the length, back down to 40 minutes or an hour and so forth.

So it is with Boolean Operators: not too long, not too short; just right. It starts out with “Never Gonna” as its opener. A first track on an album should always have a certain something to it that grabs the listeners attention and pulls them in so they, e.g.,dig the groove and then keep on listening, waiting to hear more and more of it. “Never Gonna” is a good “hook” in that way. It reels you in and keeps you listening, wanting to hear what’s next. Like a good book that keeps you turning the pages because you always want to know what’s going to happen next, a good album can be like that too: you want to hear what’s coming next. “Never Gonna” has an upbeat, catchiness to it that is very likable and is a great example of the placement of that opening cut on an album: you really get into it.

“Tyron Woodley”, the second tune, has a jazzy feel, with a saxophone playing a crazy, post-bop freak-out with the rest of the stuff; it, too, is fast, catchy and fluid. “Poundcake” slows things down, but only a notch or two. The whole thing runs in at just under a half hour, but the quality of the tunes are such that you’ll be itching to listen to it again and again. When you’ve listened to it enough times, whether it’s twice or up to five times, its sound stays with you, some of the hooks or riffs can get stuck in your head and you might find yourself with one of them playing in your head and you won’t be satisfied until you get relief by playing the song on your iPod, PC or whatever you’re listening to it on. CD, tape, whatever.

“Rockstar” is another tune that stands out for me. When I first saw its title in the song list, I thought of the Sebadoh song, “Rock Star”, from their magnificent III, it is a killer tune. This isn’t a cover, though, it’s their own, original song and it’s great. It really grabs you (again) and after its two minute length, seamlessly goes right into “Hills”, which has a bit of noise-rock background to it, with some strange sounds going on in the background, underneath the guitar, etc. “How to Live Forever” has a beginning that almost sounds like something from the Cocteau Twins, but that quickly dissipates into something completely different and is, instead, a sunny romp through a candyland.

I could go on like this and just deconstruct every song. But, I’ll just say that if you get into the first half of it, the rest of it goes on in a similar vein and all of it is a great album. This plus the fact that they did it all on their own: no need for a producer if you’re knowledgeable enough about continuity of songs – song placement, etc. and so on, they seem to have all that down pat. And they certainly don’t have any need of some A&R jerk from some corporate label, injecting their “ideas”, trying to thrust things down their throat – not for the band’s sake, but for the idea of selling more records and making the company more money. No, that’s no way to make an album; no way to run a music label.

Oh, by the way, I’ve just got to mention another tune: “Gumming for Summing” is a real treat. It veers away from some of the other tunes, like “Hills” it has some “noise-rock” elements to it: some interesting hissing-drone sounds in the background. After that, “Self-Portrait With Horns” and the finale, “Stoned” both have a kind of Pinback (or more like, Thingy, Rob Crow’s previous project, before Pinback) sound and feel to them. A great way to end the album too.

I hope to hear some more from Boolean Operators soon too. Rant Are Our Bones is another great example why indie music is so much better than corporate crap: it’s just blissful all around; it also comes out in their music: the joy they feel in doing it their way and the satisfaction of getting their music out with no relying on any labels, big or small. Also, with the internet being a huge marketplace for music nowadays, bands of all kinds, but especially DIY bands, not hooked up with any labels, have just as good a chance to be heard as any other; a good word-of-mouth set-up helps too: playing live shows is a great way to expose your band and its music to people and have it available via the internet. Voila, no middleman needed!  Also, to get a copy of Rant Are Our Bones, you can visihttps://booleanoperators.bandcamp.com/ – hope you enjoy!   -KM.


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