15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Another classic Tom Waits album...,
This review is from: Bone Machine (Audio CD)
I'm surprised there aren't more reviews of this album, which for me was my introduction to the joys of Tom Waits, Bone Machine (1992) getting great critical reviews and being cited by people like Greg Dulli and Polly Harvey. Along with Mule Variations (1999), it's the closest 'normal' Waits album- rather than soundtrack work like Night on Earth or the challenging Black Rider-album. The use of industrial clatter (The Boners here) is the major advance here on the sound Waits moved into with records like Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs (reminds me a bit of the Stinkfist-record by Lydia Lunch & Clint Ruin). More than evident on the great opening track Earth Died Screaming...
I find Bone Machine wonderful as a whole, so it's hard to single out specific tracks- as you mention something like Murder in the Redbarn or Who Are You, you then remember something great like In the Colosseum or the Keef Richards'assisted closer That Feel. Dirt in the Ground is one of my faves, as is the bluesy Jesus Gonna Be Here- which ideally comes after the almost suicide of The Ocean Doesn't Want Me (which reminds me of Denis Johnson's novel Already Dead for some reason- possibly as Waits is mentioned in that novel!). The best song here for me remains Goin' Out West, which is a major sonic-advance on an earlier song like Heartattack & Vine and was memorably featured in 1999's film Fight Club.
The whole album is great though- Such a Scream sounding like the missing link between Ornette Coleman and Tricky- All Stripped Down the missing link between Captain Beefheart and Mark Lanegan- & Whistle Down the Wind the kind of song that makes you wonder why Nick Cave bothers...
Bone Machine was a highlight of the early 90s and more than stands up now- not much more to say than another classic Tom Waits album....