Bone By Bone by Chris Ballew Is a Prime Example of a Multi-Talented Artist
by Ryan Nelson of Speedway Sleeper
4.4 out of 5 stars
Chris Ballew is a multi-faceted music-man.
He is the frontman for The Presidents of the United States of America, a Grammy award-nominated children's music producer who performs under the pseudonym Casper Babypants, and he is the sole member of the fictional band The Giraffes.
His latest work focuses on him being a bit more earnest as he releases solo records under his own name.
Last week Ballew released his latest album Bone by Bone which is a 14-track meditation on life's purpose, meaning, and what comes after.
In true Chis Ballew fashion, these massive, unwieldy themes are broken down into their component parts and presented in a simple, sincere, and honest manner.
Ballew is a wide-eyed observer of what it is to live, grow, age, and contemplate your place in infinity.
This is not a dark record however, sonically Bone by Bone brings to mind the textures of 60's psychedelic rock and 70's R & B/Soul.
With the expert use of fuzz-laden riffs, swirling delays, and expansive reverbs, the album gives at once the feeling of smallness and largeness...like a glowing campfire in the woods or standing in an empty gymnasium.
Stand out tracks for me are:
- The title track "Bone by Bone" - a slinky electric piano number held together by a deep bass groove
- "Your Own Thing" - a funky, driving, assurance that being yourself is enough
- "Fade Out" - the fuzzy, reverb dripping, spinning Leslie speaker chorus is a perfect counterpoint to the more delicate bouncing verses.
- And "Exit to Extinction" - a head nod inducing bassline and Chris's beautifully rhythmic vocal delivery carries you through the depths of outer space.
Overall, I feel that Bone by Bone is a great addition to the vast musical catalog that Mr. Ballew has amassed over the years.
The album sits nicely on the wide spectrum of tone that this artist explores, from lighthearted children's tunes, to examinations of life and death, Ballew is here for it all, and, for that, I will always appreciate him and his music.
Ryan Nelson is a multi-instrumental-looping artist known as Speedway Sleeper from the Pacific Northwest. He has been an active musician through various indie bands and monikers since the early 2000's. Follow him on Instagram @speedwaysleeper or visit speedwaysleeper.com.