BONES AND THE AFT – The Rafter Habit (Liver & Lights No. 54)

The Rafter HabitKathy says it’s all the fault of Britney Spears and Simon Cowell”. If that isn’t enough to persuade you to investigate this album there is no hope for you. The Rafter Habit is the second album from Bones And The Aft and where it fits into the musical pantheon I’ll leave you decide. Think early Liverpool Scene without Adrian Henri’s lugubrious accent and you’re on the right lines.

John Bently has been producing hand made publications for several decades, He’s a poet, songwriter, singer and artist and this album has one of the best packages you’ve ever seen – a black match-tray box with a single logo, the drawer lined with black velour and completed by a hand made booklet. I’d own this album just for that. The songs are a mixture of poetry and prose set to music. Two of them are backed by music by Alexander Scriabin transcribed for acoustic guitar by Ian Mckean. The third member of the trio is drummer David Beschizza and their style ranges from gentle acousticity to hard rock with overtones of The Magic Band.

Bently writes about ordinary places and ordinary people. The opening quote comes from ‘Rochester High St’, an account of a weekend spent there by John and his partner Kathy, mostly in the indoor market it would seem. He describes the “slagheaps of uselessness” with precision and knows that we know exactly what he’s talking about. In contrast, ‘Blaven’ is a pastoral piece describing a mountain in the Cuillins – just looking at it, not climbing it. Among the characters is the fearsome ‘Granny Mary’ who “taught with the back her hand” the star of a poem evoking the drab post-war years.

Most the pieces are taken from Bently’s other books but the ones unique to this collection are printed. The layout is delightfully inconsistent and John doesn’t always stick to the written word but everything about the Liver & Lights project is completely individual. Go and explore it.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website:

‘The Creek’ – the final track from The Rafter Habit: