Like The Secret Machines' album, Show Your Bones was mixed by New Wave/goth grey eminence of the mixing desk, Alan Moulder; which may explain the changes in tone and texture from Yeah Yeah Yeahs' 2003 debut Fever to Tell. Compared to that set's wretched faux-punk stylings, a track like album opener "Gold Lion" seems a masterpiece of thoughtful construction, its acoustic guitars, puzzling vocals and fuzzy psychedelic arrangement resembling psych-indie duos like Viva Voce and Joy Zipper rather than anything punk. Not that things stay that way: with their industrial-strength drum and guitar riffs and shrilly attitudinal vocals, songs such as " Phenomena" and "Mysteries" both suck on the same vein of nihilism and antipathy that fed into punk.
Karen O observes in the latter that she "don't even know who I like less - you or me", which is about as misanthropic as it gets. But for all the supposed viscerality and excitement on display, there's an awful lot of plodding, four-square guitar rock among these dozen tracks. The most interesting piece is "Honey Bear", which (accidentally?) effects a sort of indie-prog crossover, imposing pompous prog-rock synths upon ramshackle indie structures, for reasons best known to the band.
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