Roselit Bone's "Blister Steel" Brings the Band's Darkly Cinematic Country Into High Definition

You can see the saloon and the brawl that’s about to break out playing behind your eyelids.

Roselit Bone, Blister Steel (Friendship Fever)

[CINEMATIC COUNTRY] What began as a duo in 2013 has swelled into the nine-piece act known as Roselit Bone, purveyors of twisted twilight country. Led by Joshua McCaslin—who possesses the midcentury showiness of Elvis and the revved-up vocals of Waylon Jennings— the group is nothing if not animated. The band's sophomore record, Blister Steel, falls somewhere between the spaghetti Western sounds of Daughn Gibson, big-band balladry and Neil Young's shadowy score for Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man. Roselit Bone's strength-in-numbers approach allows for a diversity of textures, from the nightmarish alt-Americana of "Leech Child" to the shuffling Tex-Mex of "Riders on The Wall." Tying it all together is the low, bubbling gait of the 10-gallon guitar and its sentimental sibling, the lap steel. McCaslin mirrors the many moods of his group, moving from quiet narrator to operatic near-yodeler. The result is decidedly filmic; you can see the saloon and the brawl that's about to break out playing behind your eyelids. Blister Steel captivates partly because it envelops, smothering the listener in hyperbolic Western sounds that echo the band's self-proclaimed "knife-fight music." It also bends the ear with unexpected instrumentation and subtle mutation, often in haunting fashion. 

SEE IT: Roselit Bone plays Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., with The Jackalope Saints and Chuck Westmoreland, on Wednesday, May 31. 9 pm. $10-$12. 21+.

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