Editors' Notes It’s thanks to some combination of powerfully persuasive musicianship and sheer stubbornness that Brothers Osborne carved out a place for themselves in the country music landscape during the latter half of the 2010s. TJ Osborne’s guttural, low-slung lead vocals, languid phrasing and bluesy bends are situated at the intersection of old-school country, R&B and Southern rock, and never venture into country pop’s presently dominant mode of emulating hip-hop. John Osborne, the older sibling in the duo, serves as co-lead on guitar, putting muscular, incisive playing squarely in the spotlight at a time when beatmaking has much more of a presence in the format than shredding solos. On their first album, 2016’s Pawn Shop, they proved that they're in touch with commercially accessible songwriting sensibilities. By the follow-up, 2018’s Port Saint Joe, they and their bandmates—the rare Nashville outfit to do double duty on stage and in studio—were stretching out.

On their latest, Skeletons, the Osbornes and the rest of their crew, including their long-time producer Jay Joyce, really stoke the dynamic tension between hooks, licks and grooves and showcase what a deep pocket they have as a band. Partway through "All Night", the sinewy propulsion gives way to the barbed, sneaky precision of John's guitar vamp. During "All the Good Ones Are", funky guitar rhythms graze a meaty, countrified dance-rock backbeat. The title track features a sly, taunting performance from TJ, who reaches cavernous lows and musters a robust attack an octave higher, while the tricky accents of an Appalachian blues-rock guitar riff toy with the timekeeping. The band hurtle from "Muskrat Greene", John’s blistering, chicken-picking instrumental jam, into the down-home show-stopper "Dead Man’s Curve".

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