Misadventure = mishap attributed to a person who intended no harm
You might have heard of death by misadventure. Well, RAG’N’BONE MAN lives life by misadventure…
Rory Graham is better known as the “Human” Brit singer-songwriter RAG’N’BONE MAN. At the 2017 Brit Awards, he was named the British Breakthrough Act and received the Critics’ Choice Award.
“tackles the fear of the unknown”
Emerging from a UK hip hop background (hence the crew-handle: Rag ‘N’ Bonez, apparently chosen in homage to vintage British sitcom Steptoe and Son) Rory started to work on collaborations, first with MC/producer Leaf Dog, then with producer Mark Crew (Bastille’s Bad Blood) and in 2014, with Mark Crew, with whom he released an EP titled Wolves via Best Laid Plans Records.
His debut album, “Human” was released February 2017 via Columbia Records and contained his first hit single, “Human” a number that was certified gold, went to the top of the charts in many territories and became the theme tune to the Amazon Prime series Oasis.
While “Human” might be best described as enhanced blue-eyed soul, this year’s album, titled “Life by Misadventure” might be better summarized as elegiac blues… as it packs a very powerful (and tearful) series of punches while it tackles the fear of the unknown (and especially the dread of loneliness.)
The album begins discreetly and modestly with“Fireflies”. This is a serving of healthy, down-to-earth, melancholia and the voice is, of course, fruity ice cream and extra-caffeinated kahlua. But do you know what? It’s not a happy song to launch an album with, is it? It sets the mood for more sentiment to come: in fact, we can objectively expect the entire disc will be mumpishly watery-eyed and a bit too generous in the overgloom department. And yes, we suppose it’s true that we’ve been through the rinser these past months, but haven’t we come to surface the other side of our encounters battered, maybe blemished… but wanting joy? Do we have to be so darned dolesome about what’s gone before?
The duet with P!NK (herself a little bit missundaztood) “Anywhere Away From Here” is modestly powerful and perhaps not iconic of the album as a whole… not that it’s not passionate, perceptive and extraordinary (it is) but it feels overwrought (without being preachy.)
“Breath in Me” is another acoustic strum-a-thon with limitless depth in the vocal tone and an aromatic melody of naturalness and solid eloquence.
Blues are born from lamentation and adversity and so “Alone” is a song about comparing oneself to others and coming to the inevitable conclusion (if you’re a blues artist) that the whole world is better off than you are. Don’t it just make you: “feel alone?” This is a tender marrow-scraping ballad that carries the cockles of its proud sadness upon its hearty breast like a bulletproof vestment.
And “Party’s Over” with its competent set of beautiful piano trills (and marvelous drums from two-time Grammy Award-Winning Daru Jones ) — with very hummable, velvety guitar from Mike Elizondo — is even gentler than other tracks and almost jazz-like in unambiguous softness.
Lugubrious? Yes. Disheartened? Uh huh. Awesome? Oh yeah, but we wish it was sunnier!
Words: @neilmach 2021 ©
Main image, picture credit: RagNBoneMan / Vevo
Grab the new album here: https://rnbm.lnk.to/LifeByMisadventureAY