Italy’s Throw Down Bones are something of an enigma in the experimental underground. Since the release of their highly-praised 2015 self-titled album, they’ve picked up a notorious reputation on the European live circuit for their pulverising, constantly-mutating live shows. In a review of the debut album listeners were told to “make no mistake, this is dance music” and that may have been true back then but now, back with their second album titled Two, the band have taken that to a whole new extreme. Ditching the hypnotic coldwave tendencies of their earlier work for an all-out sonic assault of industrial four-to-the-floor techno.
Two was recently released on Fuzz Club Records and see’s the band deal in floor-shaking industrial, EBM inspired noise that’s steeped in a euphoric acid-house attitude. Where the old Throw Down Bones was better suited for intimate venues and psych fests (of which they were a frequent staple, from Liverpool to Eindhoven and everywhere in between), this new evolution sees them turn their eyes to the most underground techno clubs and the sleaziest warehouse venues. For them, their corrosive industrial workouts are simply the product of their environment and attitudes, as opposed to who they’re listening to at any given moment.
The two key members are Francesco Vanni and Dave Gali but on this album their producer James Aparicio also played an integral part in writing the album. Francesco spends his time building bespoke FX pedals and analogue synths under the name Noise Militia and James was formerly the in-house engineer at the Mute Records studio, his credits including Spiritualized, Liars, Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, Mogwai and many, many more. With Noise Militia prototypes littered around the studio, Francesco and Dave’s knack for instrumental experimentation and James’ studio prowess, it should come as no surprise that the result is a collection of tracks that push Throw Down Bones’ electronica right to the brink. If you like your music intense, punishing and ear-drum-rattling then this is the record for you.
Opening track ‘First Follower’ wastes no time in making its point, with an infectious beat taking instant hold whilst playful electronic noise swirls ceaselessly. The energy from their debut LP lingers in the background, but everything has been ramped up to 11. ‘We Are Drugs’ is a different entity, with a kraut rock inspired bass line and motorik beat. A throbbing electronic pulse filters through in intervals, and when all the elements combine, its quite a weighty combination – a floor filler in any underground club waiting to happen. ‘Slow Violence’ feels like a more traditional dance track in its composition before ‘NO-FI’ returns to the underground, with a distinct industrial edge taking over. You can tell with this track that something is going to happen, and it does half way through – listen to it for yourself, words can’t explain, but definitely some Aphex Twin vibes going on.
‘Golovikin’ is a full on, no holds barred rave track that sees you leaving the planet, at least momentarily before returning with ‘Is This Us’ which is probably the track most like what fans have come to love from them. The intense beat and repetition of the competing elements create an intoxicating wave of sound that doesn’t let up but only intensifies as the track progresses and ‘Known Unknown’ continues with this intensity. Concluding ‘Zero Day Exploit’ is an audio assault from the offset, but in a subtler way than its predecessors. It’s the perfect chose to end the album; enough to leave you satisfied yet yearning for more.
If this album doesn’t make you want to get up and dance like nobodies watching, quite frankly, nothing ever will. Definitely not psych, but then who cares when it’s this good..?