Globe Hall Presents Born Without Bones with Lady Denim and A Place for Owls on Thursday, October 12 —
There’s a song called “Sudden Relief” on Dancer, the new Born Without Bones album, that’s unlike anything Scott Ayotte has ever written before. That’s not because of the evolution of the Milford, MA outfit from solo project to fully-fledged band, either. Guitarist Jonathan Brucato and bassist Jim Creighton have been a part of the permanent line-up for a long time now, and Super American’s Sam Checkoway – who played on last year’s re-recorded retrospective EP, Pictures Of The Sun – was behind the kit for the whole record, the first time in the band’s history that that’s happened. This goes even deeper. It’s the first time that Ayotte has written a love song that’s not about love going or having gone wrong. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“It’s written not from the perspective of having lost love but having gained love,” he explains. “Before, I didn’t write about any relationships until they were over, and it wasn’t usually in the most positive way. But this is a positive song I wrote for and about my girlfriend. Even though it says the nice things about her, I decided to keep in the not so nice things about me – because she’s also signing up for those. Luckily, she’s loving of both.”
That turnaround in romantic fortune doesn’t mean, however, that this album is devoid of the emotional anguish that has been an integral part of Born Without Bones since the frontman formed it in 2010. It’s just that perspectives have shifted slightly, and the instability he feels now concerns other areas of his life. Indeed, it’s actually being in the band, and the consequences of that, that weighs heavily on this record’s 11 songs. Whereas Pictures Of The Sun was a present day reconstruction of five songs from the band’s past, this record sees Ayotte reflect on and take stock of that past, especially Scott’s fears and struggles after the release of both 2013’s second record, Baby, and 2017’s third full-length, Young At The Bend. The response to both was so disheartening for Scott, in fact, that an existential crisis of confidence ensued after the release of the latter.
“We did a good bit of touring after Young At The Bend came out,” explains Ayotte, “but it just seemed it wasn’t connecting with people. We’d felt the same way when Baby had come out, so we were sort of expecting some sort of gradual increase in people being interested in the band, but it also just seemed that no matter what we did, it wasn’t really connecting with people.”
Even 18 months after that album’s release, Ayotte still felt that way. He couldn’t shake it. And so he left the band (“I didn’t quit the band,” he stresses now, “it was more that I didn’t know if the band was working”). In that time away, something weird happened, Born Without Bones started gaining momentum like never before. Baby – which was self-released, but has since been reissued by Pure Noise – found a whole new audience. The band still can’t put their finger on what changed in that year away from playing shows, but actor Elliot Fletcher posting a cover of their song “Stone” to Twitter might possibly have had something to do with it. Whatever the reason for the increased attention, it got the trio “re-excited about the band, because we were all kind of down in the dumps about it.” Just as importantly, it also ignited something in the frontman’s head.