Just for a moment, conceptualise an image of yourself floating high above the ground in a common cloud carrier, with your legs dangling just below the surface. While your plotting the next squall with the Storm Guide who’s typically wearing a bone and turquoise chequered suit; the trappings of reality attempt to oust you from the elevated realism, your kicking away the balloons filled with consciousness, but your level best is not enough and you fall through the passage made by birds crash landing into the reliquary abyss.
Now this is just one persons take on the cinematic illustrations that deviate from reality during the listening experience of Stern’s upcoming ‘alien pop’ release Bone Turquoise. The abstract nature of the lyrics and the regular derailment of melody, rhythm and structure captivates at the same time as it does create a feeling of being distressed and cramped. Stern is originally the solo outlet of Brooklyn artist Chuck Stern, Bone Turquoise is technically Sterns fifth release, but now Stern is a fully fledged band, being joined by Keith Abrams, Tim Byrnes and Toby Driver, all three with close ties to Kayo Dot, no more so than Toby.
Chuck Stern handles all the vocal duties on Bone Turquoise even though the similarities to Kayo Dot’s latest release Coffins on Io are prevalent at times. The off-kilter and eccentric vocalisation that occurs on the infectious title track is strangely enough the most accessible on the album, its traditional in structure and has a repetitive rhythm, but is so unpredictable at the same time.
That unpredictability is rife throughout, even through the gentle one two punch of the piano and guitar soaked tracks ‘Common Carrier’ and ‘Storm Guide’ remain consistently staunch, on first listen its impossible not to feel as though there is dissonant jab lurking below the surface. That moment doesn’t come, but soon after ‘The Plot’ begins with a jagged riff and indifferent vocal the unconventional delivery returns to paralyse the senses. ‘Trappings’ has an uplifting quality, but also an extremely prickly and uncomfortable guitar and keyboard conflict and its that feeling that fails to dissipate throughout, whereby your lead in one direction by one element of the mix yet torn and dragged elsewhere by another.
Bone Turquoise was recorded and mixed by Marc Goodman and Daniel Schlett at Strange Weather Studio (Liturgy, The Men, DIIV) and will be released on New Atlantis Records August 7th.
Stern have created one of the most refreshing audio experiences of 2015, Bone Turquoise is an album that can take you places and leaves you dumfounded, astounded and excited all at the same time. Check out the tracklist, pre-order Bone Turquoise and create your own adventure.
3.Your Level Best
9.Birds of Passage