Alcoa - Bone and Marrow (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Bone and Marrow (2012)

Bridge Nine

It's been a while since Derek Archambault started teasing and toying with his solo act and seeing a lead vocalist, who's done so well with Defeater, actually procrastinate on this project until he became more comfortable with his voice for solos and acoustics heightened the anticipation. The rousing reception he often got when he did these songs added more fuel to the fire, and then showing these chops with Defeater, brought it home that he had quite an assortment of moods to unveil–but how long would he take was the question. The verdict's out, and it was worth the wait. Alcoa not only acts as the moniker for a highly impressive act, but as a conduit for Archambault's take on life and love, with a more microscopic tone as opposed to his work in Defeater.

The emotion is felt in riveting fashion throughout, from "Keep Track, Lose Track" in the onset, to "Drowned" later on. These really complement each other well and the record's early tracks lay a steady foundation for what's to come. The moving lyrics, particularly in the latter, show how seamless the drive and passion is related to the listener, with influences from Johnny Cash and Bruce Springsteen apparent. It reminded me a lot of Jim Ward's post-Sparta days, as the country vibe and the array of influences shadowed all stand out in a record full of heart. The homages paid also add flavour to the album and "I Don't Feel Welcome" exemplifies just why this record had fans eagerly waiting. It's one of the best things Archambault has ever composed.

The country tone on "Limbs" as well as the numerous references to drinking and the bottle add extra dimensions to his take on relationships and struggles in life, and any fan of Defeater knows how much this idea of family influences his music and words. The effect that you would love on a Defeater record is amplified on Bone and Marrow so much. The magnitude of how open and honest the record is shows best on "Lucky Me," which highlights the depressing aspects of life, still s the musical strength that epitomizes Archambault.

There's a high respect for his storytelling and with this record, it's sure to grow. "Whiskey and Wine" helps wind things down and signifies the openness and candor that make Archambault so good at what he does. He takes personal experiences and lays it bare on the table with catchy chords and a quiet bravado which all lend to captivating music. Bone and Marrow is full of heart, love and tribulations, and Archambault surely deserves to take a bow.