The following review of Skin & Bones is from Pure M Magazine “Ireland’s Music, Art and Culture Magazine”
Americana artist Mark Brown’s affinity with song-writing was originally inspired by an introduction to the work of Johnny Cash when he was just six years old. It was then that the seeds were sewn of a career that now spans more than a quarter of a century. The Maryland native recently returned to the studio to record Skin and Bone; his first full length outing since 2005.
The album features a fast and fervent beginning in the form of the upbeat melody and intriguing instrumental elements of “See You Next Time”. There’s an odd electronic edge to the music of “Trouble” afterwards as it resounds behind a delicate duet. The outcome is an unusual but not altogether objectionable fusion of classic country and contemporary electro-pop.
“Smashed” is an extremely energetic anthem that dances delightedly through vibrant vocals and a bustling beat. “Cried in Your Bed” succeeds it as a slow and stirring serenade that floats upon lightly delivered lamenting lyrics. “Creosote” creeps out of its predecessor’s wake into a solemn harmony that echoes out urgently. The instrumentation stays sedate, resulting in a song that’s slow and psychedelic.
The quick and catchy “Hatchet Man” captivates with its enthusiastic guitars, while its vigorous vocals excite before “Hurt” brings about a much more mournful mood. The warm refrain and affecting instrumentation of “When the Time Comes” take over next and trot tranquilly together to forge a relaxing yet weighty rhythm. “Pony” strips down when it’s done, being attired with nothing but a simple acoustic riff and a tormented, heartfelt harmony.
The vivid vocals of “Icy Bob” give birth to an incredibly cutting endeavour that’s quite chilling. “Sleep Little Angel” follows to sooth the senses with its gentle melody and soft symphonic sound ahead of “When Your Sister Comes”. This restrained but characterful creation paves the way to the distorted introduction of “Spaceship”, which prefaces a hushed harmony that drifts delicately towards a touching terminus entitled “Granny”.
Mark Brown has crafted an accessible assemblage of Americana anthems that rest relatively easy on the ears.