Bonemen of Barumba

  • Bonemen of Barumba
  • Driving the Bats Thru Jerusalem EP (Barumba/Fever) 1983 
  • Icons (Barumba/Fever/Enigma) 1984 

Chicago’s Bonemen of Barumba go tribal on a Pop Group-type dissonant art-funk jones. The music moves and grooves on heavy tom-toms locked to an extremely profundo basso. Guitars slice in alternately clichéd and inventive noisy lines, and Mark Panick screams and chants over the top. Driving the Bats is ballsy and primitive; the record’s power comes from the rhythms and the intensity with which the band crams its lines into them. Icons, which features only two of the EP’s Bonemen, gives up the straight-ahead lunge for more lyrical songs. Instead of driving the rhythms, the band creates intriguing structures around them. Big mistake. Without that rush of kinetic energy, the Bonemen fall flat. And they don’t have enough ideas to fill an album.

[John Leland]