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Brothers Osborne – ‘Skeletons’ review

The duo return with their strongest album yet.

Brothers Osborne arrived in the Country genre with a bang in 2015 with their runaway hit ‘Stay a Little Longer’. The song gave the brothers – TJ and John – their breakthrough hit and it launched their 2016 debut album ‘Pawn Shop’. Since then the duo has picked up plenty of awards, released follow-up album ‘Port Saint Joe’ in 2018 along with ‘Live at the Ryman’ in 2019, and they’ve become a firm favourite in the UK thanks to their commitment to tour here regularly. This week sees the band release their third studio album ‘Skeletons’, coincidentally appropriately titled given Halloween is around the corner.

‘Skeletons’ continues Brother Osborne’s long-term partnership with producer Jay Joyce and it’s without a doubt their finest record to date. If ‘Pawn Shop’ gave us a crash course in the band and ‘Port Saint Joe’ showed us their versatility, ‘Skeletons’ is the rallying cry of a band that’s well-and-truly found where they fit in the genre. The energy is high, the melodies strong and John’s guitar playing truly jaw-dropping.

Lead single ‘All Night’, a funky party track that’s desperate to be played live, was the right way to introduce fans to the album. It showcases the energy the brothers have captured on the record and it’s among their best songs to date. At a time when we’re all sick to the back teeth of the pandemic, who wouldn’t want to forget their cares and just enjoy some music this fantastic? Thankfully Brothers Osborne could well have delivered the album of the year that will help us do exactly that.

‘Lighten Up’ opens the record, tricking you into thinking you’re getting an acoustic number when actually you’re getting a foot-stomping jam driven by TJ’s distinctive vocals. As the duo urges people to ‘lighten up’, the song feels incredibly relevant to this very difficult year. The stand out tracks come thick and fast with the urgent rock of ‘All The Good Ones Are’ being an early favourite as TJ delivers some truth about life, and the atmospheric title track ‘Skeleton’s combining shimmering guitars with an-almost Jace Everett style drawling vocal delivery.

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On ‘Back on the Bottle’ Brothers Osborne rock hard infusing traditional Country rhythms into the mix, ‘High Note’ brings the tempo down a little for one of the album’s more sensitive moments, and ‘Make It A Good One’ encourages listeners to appreciate the life you have warning it’s going to whizz by quicker than you have any control over. The double whammy of instrumental ‘Muskrat Greene’, which showcases John’s remarkable guitar skills, leads perfectly into album highlight ‘Dead Man’s Curve’, a rollicking joyride of a song that’s something of a spiritual sequel to ‘It Ain’t My Fault’.

The album comes to a close with the double whammy of ‘Hatin’ Somebody’, a song that highlights the deep divide in society at the moment, and the acoustic-led ‘Old Man’s Boots’, which shows that Brothers Osborne can still rock hard, even when they tone the rock down. It’s nice to hear TJ’s voice away from the crashing full band that backs most of the album’s tracks.

‘Skeletons’ is the adrenaline ride we all need right now. It’s packed to the rafters with potential singles and it storms by barely stopping to catch a breath. This album is made to be performed live and now Brothers Osborne have rescheduled their UK tour for May, we might not have to wait too long. Brothers Osborne consistently top themselves with every album and ‘Skeletons’ continues that tradition. We may have just found the year’s best album folks.

Credit: Spinefarm Records

Track list: 1. Lighten Up 2. All Night 3. All the Good Ones Are 4. I’m Not For Everyone 5. Skeletons 6. Back on the Bottle 7. High Note 8. Muskrat Greene 9. Dead Man’s Curve 10. Make It a Good one 11. Hatin’ Somebody 12. Old Man’s Boots Record label: Spinefarm Records Release date: 9th October 2020 Buy ‘Skeletons’ now

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