The opening track “PaleEarnhardt” has Bones back in the garage, back to the cellars of rap, and back into the crevices where Soundcloud was still important to internet music. The days of skeletal crate-digging comes with ethereal production and the smoke-filled lungs of a million teenagers.
Tracks like “PaleEarnhardt” immediately force a rush of emotions from nostalgia to bitter semblance toward the graves of 10,000 blunts. Elmo O’Connor known better as Bones can create through monotoned delivery in tandem with producer, The Messiah. Released on January 1st, 2014, DeadBoy trades New Year traditions for a velvet and marble casket.
The title track, “DeadBoy” is a Resident Evil styled creep through rattling hi-hats and hellscapes from Nightmare Nasty. Illustrating, “You say you banging like Marvin, Gaye’s father be honest. Acting hard, selling dope like I ain’t got enough on me. Say you strapped like the army, claim you spraying the Tommy. I’m just a corpse on the porch, there’s no way you can harm me.” As the keys and 808s coincide within this mausoleum of sound, Bones becomes a phantom to haunt the audience while “DeadBoy” bangs on.
The second verse has Bones illustrating, “I’m just a dead boy, got no blood in my veins. I’m just a dead boy, just so stuck in my ways,” before falling victim to an inevitable silence. While the beat from Nightmare Nasty spins round and round, the eyes roll to the back of the head and pieces like “Wi-Fi” can invade.
Perhaps one of the cleanest tracks in Bones’ career, “Wi-Fi” is abrasive but somehow more chilling than invoking. With an iconic opening, Bones orchestrates this production from DJ Dialup where the use of auditory sampling and a harsh 808 ensemble forms the instrumentation.
Bones uses these moments to say, “It’s the wi-fi pimp, modems hanging from my wrists. Passwords on my blunts got to log in to hit it.” Where the internet metaphors and similes don’t seem to be far from abundance, Bones continues on, “Digits etched on my grave, can’t decipher my slang. Wingdings when I speak, bold fonts when I sing. Bitch I’m coming through italicized, that’s leaning back.”
Quickly becoming a standout from DeadBoy, “Wi-Fi” has these moments of cute accessories where samples describe, “You got, you got mail” in the classic AOL Instant Messenger voice-over.
While much of DeadBoy is a collection of harder and more sluggish tracks. One of the final messages comes from “Calcium” where water pours over the buck knife in the sunshine. The vibrant and overexposed stylings of production from HNRK becomes one of the most beautiful displays on a SESH release.
Bones describes, “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know which way to go. Walking down the road, looking at the street lights. Wanna go home, but I don’t feel right,” as high-pitched keys ring in the ears.
Built more on the backs of the chorus, “Calcium” becomes more than just a fading photograph in the vault of SESH. The moments of intense sunlight become remembered just based upon how Bones thrives in the caves and darkness of the forests.