Not knowing how much studio time costs these days, one can only assume that booking a few sessions is cheaper than going to see a psychologist. How else can one explain the anguish permeating Joel Hamilton’s sophomore outing as the Working Title? Throughout Bone Island, Hamilton keens like Conor Oberst on early Bright Eyes releases, hanging his diary pages like wallpaper over spare arrangements conducted on a wheezy organ. “You told me I could never see you and made me what I am today,” he emo-bleats on “Dead Inside”. On “Sugar for My Sugar”, he’s even more to the point, “You lied and lied and lied.” A few tracks allow some sunshine in (or at least take a break from the navel-gazing): On the growly “Hijackers”, Hamilton actually recognizes other human beings besides himself and whoever put him in his funk, and “Someone Else” classifies as jaunty in comparison (are those sleigh bells?). But as the bleak, sepia artwork peppered throughout Bone Island’s liner notes reveals, this is one tortured record that wallows in misery without offering any solutions. Search it out if you get dumped soon. Otherwise, enjoy your happy home.
// Notes from the Road
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