Looks can be deceiving.
If you see Iggy Cuthbert in real life, you may have an idea he just returned from voyages with Kerouac and Bukowski. His body is covered with unusual tattoos, he speaks softly with the eloquence of a young romantic poet and has the pale complexion of a Victorian sanatorium dweller. He could be a character from Lou Reed`s “Walk On The Wild Side”. Only he has not been to a jazz bar to drown his sorrows, but rather buried himself in his home studio to work on something creative.
You see Happy Bones. is a very busy man. He is on his fourth EP (“Happy Bones” and “Incomplete Collection Of Recordings vol. 1” from 2017, “Incomplete Demos I Recorded On My Phone” from 2018, “Isolation Demos” from 2020), has released five stand alone singles (“Where Is My Mind” (2017), “Just The Same”/”Tired Of This World” (2018), “Grand Finale.(about being sad, innit.)” from 2019, “Love Song For The City” and “Alfie`s Show”/”For Friends That Don`t Talk To Me Anymore” from 2020) and a series of digital leaks from 2019 (“Demo”, “Love Will Ruin Us”, “Poem”, “Folk Song”). He has been modelling , makes tattoos and mono prints, promotes artists as part of Boneyard PR, is working on a poetry book/zine and somehow has time to keep a daily job. Did I mention Happy Bones regularly gigs around West Mids and Bristol? Yeah I know…
Does this man ever sleep?
Iggy Cuthbert have been carving himself a niche on Birmingham scene for about five years now and his multi disciplinary approach is unique. If you had a pound for every description that was attributed to him, you would not need Universal Credit until Christmas. He is definitely part of a nouveau Beatnik movement for his emotive and highly descriptive poetry. His approach to art is minimalistic and surely inspired by Japanese zen and modern Scandinavian geometric movement. His music is described as that of a singer/songwriter with an anarchistic streak. Lo-fi indie folk if you please. “Isolation Demos” is set within Happy Bones.` well defined modus operandi – recorded in his bedroom, on a smart phone, with Cuthbert playing all instruments and singing (with notable exception of “My House Up On The Hill” that incorporates a piano sample from Bristol based producer Jack Stead aka Ettu Brute).
The EP is 15 minutes long and offers five brand new tracks that have been released over the last few weeks, usually at the dead of night.
On “Isolation Demos” Iggy Cuthbert oscillates between emotive ballads (“Nothing How I Thought It Would Be”), lullabies (“Sleep Well x”,) and highly dramatic, nearly grungy in their execution songs (“This Is Just Noise Stop Pretending It’s Music”). It`s hard to escape comparisons to Bill Ryder – Jones, Conor Oberst, Damien Jurado or Daniel Johnson. There is something that reminds me of theiconic yet misunderstood genius of Seattle bard Brian Wood (Fire Ants/Devil Head).
It`s demanding, challenging music. It`s made obscure and simplistic to deter people. Happy Bones.’ entire catalogue can be viewed as feral. It bares its teeth, makes itself unpretty, unlistenable, un-commercial as possible so people leave it alone. But don’t fall for it. Underneath the grime and dirt, there is melody, buckets of emotions, beauty and a huge talent of a young man. It would be almost harmful to dismiss Happy Bones. It`s art. And despite it all – this form of expression is very well received.
I always said that West Midlands is a scene with enormous potential and Happy Bones. is yet another example of our local sheer brilliance.
Now can anyone phone up Saddle Creek, please? They are missing Happy Bones. from their roster.
“What I Want And What I Get Is Never The Same”,
“Sleep well x”,
“Nothing How I Thought It Would Be”
“My House Up On The Hill” and
“This Is Just Noise Stop Pretending It’s Music”.
You can listen to the EP via Soundcloud:
Malicia Dabrowicz (Vanadian Avenue)