The Billybones – The Complexity of Stupidity LP
Doctor Strange Records
Billy Bones (the person) was part of the original L.A. punk scene way back in the late 1970’s and was the lead singer of the Skulls. The band never put out a proper record and only appeared on a What? Records compilation which is why a lot of the generations of punk rock fans that followed likely never heard of them. The band didn’t last long enough to record a proper album but they played a lot of shows in their area back then and then disbanded and wasn’t heard from again in any form for decades. Around the year 2000, sole survivor Billy Bones resurrected the Skulls name and put together a new band to play a couple of reunion type shows for special events in the L.A. area and that led to him putting together a new Skulls and recording new material. The material was surprisingly strong and they found a nice blend of the old punk sound with some modern touches and released two great albums before they too disbanded a few years later.
You can’t keep a good man down and that certainly applies to Mr. Bones as he is back after a somewhat quiet few years with a new band, the aptly titled Billybones. They put out a single a few years ago and now are finally back with their first full length LP. Those familiar with the more recent incarnation of the Skulls will find a lot of similarities in the Billybones to that of the former Skulls. The vocals obviously sound the same but the music is very similar too. The Billybones blend 1970’s style tuneful and punchy punk rock and give it a bit of a modern face lift to keep it from sounding too dated or retro. The songs are mostly fast and upper mid temp with straightforward beats and punchy guitar with occasional short leads. The songs have a lot of sing along choruses and call and response type of structures. They all have catchy hooks and are easy to get stuck in your head and get you singing along to them. These were all the ingredients of what made the modern version of the Skulls so great and that formula has been duplicated here with ear pleasing results. This is a catchy punk rock record with a lot of energy and none of the wimpy pop trappings of what modern pop music trying to market itself as punk is guilty of.
Doctor Strange Records has always supported the vinyl format so it’s no surprise that this comes on the vinyl format. The record (on red vinyl) comes inside a tri-fold silkscreen cover that is printed on two sides. The vinyl is very thick and it has color labels with artwork that matches the album cover. It does not come with any inserts. This is a limited edition of only 250 with another 250 in blue with a blue cover. What it lacks in inserts or information it more than makes up for with some kick ass punk tunes and a cool looking package and this new album is well worth your time.