All right. We’ve had one pandemic, two major political crises, three storms, PM on a ventilator and a heat wave and its only April. If you think nothing will surprise you about 2020 anymore – you can always count on Happy Bones to drop a new single.
Not everyone will be familiar with the name but once you know your underground West Midlands scene (and you should always check out the counter culture if you want to know what`s good) Happy Bones is a well -known figure. Real name Iggy Cuthbert. Skinny, dressed like he just came out of ‘Singles’ movie set, with enough art on his skin to put him in Tate Museum. You can`t miss him. He is a visual artist, a (beat) poet and a man who served me the best burger in my life.
Happy Bones enjoys something of a cult status for his lo-fi bedroom recorded songs, written using sometimes-out-of-tune guitars, that are sung with a melancholic, droning voice. There is no hope in the lyrics. He drops his singles or even entire albums at random, usually in the dead of the night. You may not even notice the premiere.
But don’t let that fool you. Iggy Cuthbert has been in bands that would kick your ass. He shared stages with the likes of Nuns of the Tundra and The Americas. He is a close friend and collaborator of nth cave and F.F. Ivanovski and if he wanted he could be on national radio more times than the two combined.
Maybe he is not bothered, maybe he is content making art on his own terms. At his own pace.
‘Nothing I Thought It Would Be’ was released on SoundCloud late evening on Easter Monday and is written in that easily recognizable style that Happy Bones built for himself: simple yet catchy guitar riffs, melodeclamation and poetry. If Damien Jurado and Daniel Johnson had to quarantine together – this would be end product of one of their sessions.
Lyrically ‘Nothing I Thought It Would Be’ is a meditation on growing up – or rather – on growing old and how terrifying the experience is. For everyone with no exceptions. How quickly one can feel overpowered by what is happening in the world and how naively we tell ourselves that one day we will get it right.
But then who said we won’t?
Maybe the secret to life is to do whatever we are doing BUT on our terms, not looking at anyone and anything?
Not so long ago we were mourning Daniel Johnson and quoting his ‘Story of an Artist’ as an example how art is not always commercial and pretty. Mr Johnson may have crossed the bridge but he left some very talented pupils to continue his work. One of them is named Happy Bones and lives in Bristol. And he has just won the unspoken competition for a bedroom written quarantine song of the year.
Malicia Dabrowicz (Vanadian Avenue)