Words by Archie Whincup
Drawing influence from the gritty, northern, grunge(-ish) sound spearheaded by big name acts Drenge, Pulled Apart By Horses and Dinosaur Pile-Up, Hull 3-piece Bloodhound deliver an album full of ambitious, marauding riffs, bursting with promise but unfortunately lacking that spark at the heart of a truly memorable debut.
Penultimate track FRSTRTD (featuring psych-grunge gang Brooders) highlights the ups and downs of Bloodhound - an impressive, tumultuous, fast to slow and back again riff, backed by atmospheric, expansive vocals. It delivers the sort of high-energy, collar-grabbing climax the record needs before inexplicably devolving into two and a half minutes of drone and rainfall: aiming for atmosphere, but landing closer to a ‘10-hour realistic rain sounds’ YouTube video.
The album is marred with these tells of inexperience which miss the target and distract from a core of enticing, hard-nosed alt-rock. The impulse to overcomplicate a simple formula ultimately being what sets the album back.
Fragile Skeleton does deliver gripping moments. Am I Okay? stands out as a highlight, driven by a looming, nostalgic riff that wouldn’t sound out of place in the back-catalogue of grunge-greats Soundgarden.
Fragile Skeleton is an enjoyable, if flawed, debut, unfortunately embellished in ways which distract from the exciting, visceral songwriting. For fans of brooding, northern grunge, Fragile Skeleton is well worth a listen, a solid foundation remains despite the cracks.