Bones for Tinder, the debut release by Justin Robinson and the Mary Annettes, offers a look into Southern culture that intrigues outsiders, particularly as bands like Midtown Dickens and Phil Cook and His Feat further expose them to down-home sounds. With a wealth of experience under his belt, Robinson has set forth with a mixture of sounds that creates a clever and unexpected twist that surprises listeners who may have anticipated a sound similar to that of his former band.
Robinson, a former member of the Grammy Award-winning band Carolina Chocolate Drops, shows enormous growth with this album by elaborating on the framework he laid with his former band. Where Robinsonʻs former band prefers the sounds familiar to mountain folk, he decides to change things up by working on a loose, free flowing record. By combining a variety of seemingly mismatched sounds — fiddles, banjos, and hip hop beats — Robinson introduces a curious and cohesive twist. The result is an intriguing sound that allows Robinson and his collective to shed the skin of his former Carolina Chocolate Drops and emerge stronger than before.
Bones for Tinder opens with the light-hearted “Neptune” that eases listeners into the new sound Robinson has crafted. As the album progresses, hip hop beats emerge and blend smoothly with the comfortable sounds of banjos and autoharp. In “Kissinʻ and Cussinʻ”, there is a slight twinge in the lyrics that are reminiscent of the Refugees. While the album maintains an air of familiarity, it takes enough risks to craft a sound that is unique in itself. This sort of attempt at originality would be considered a bold move for other musicians, but Robinsonʻs experience gives him a distinct advantage over other bands who would dare do the same.
The album allows Robinson plenty of breathing room to experiment with a sound that would not have been explored with his former outfit. As he continues to move beyond his work with Carolina Chocolate Drops and focuses on his current band, it is clear that his work is versatile enough to attract new listeners unfamiliar with his résumé. However, the collectiveʻs joint efforts have resulted in a sound that does not stray too far from his former bandʻs efforts, drawing Carolina Chocolate Drops fans to his new work and solidifying his fan base.
Bones for Tinder is available now via iTunes, Amazon, and your local record store.