It has been a while since I received Ain’t Got No Bone, Crappydog’s fifth album. A rambling blues record that breathes the spirit of the street, bears an apparent DIY and punk attitude, and sounds more like a growling dog than the band name implies. Erik Vandenberge, the singer and songwriter of the band, might be born on the salty shores of Zeeland, his music though reeks more of cotton than of mussels. Or it must be growling mussels, ready to bite while you try to break them open.
I Ain’t Got No Bone opens with Crush; a dirty drums driven stomping blues with distorted guitar and an over-the-top screaming baritone saxophone. The crush of Vandenberge is real, there is no space left for any doubt about that, the adrenaline driven lofi and punkblues of the first three songs makes sure you’ll feel it.
Convincing blues with the experimental vibe of Captain Beefheart, the growl of Tom Waits and the stomp of Doo Rag (and Bob Log III). What defines the sound of Crappydog, besides the great songs and the cracking voice of its singer, is the way in which the brass is incorporated in the sound. The low and dirty tones of the saxophone in combination with the grinding guitar, the twisted and sharp trumpet that takes over the broken and fuzzed vocals in some of the songs give Crappydog its extra weird twist.
Take Get Ready which starts as a lowdown stripped blues but quickly marches into New Orleans, the brass section leading the whole team in this musical excursion. An excursion that is fun to listen to. Even with the constant dark and sadness that shimmer in the background, Ain’t Got No Bone is a party to listen to. Twelve songs in 25 minutes that are all rich and full of energy. Even when Vandenberge and his band take it down, the record delivers pure pounding blues, far from crappy.