Sounds the Same
Bone needed to stage their comeback in grand style, and it doesn’t get any grander than “Flow Motion,” the opening track on Strength and Loyalty. Backed by an orchestral bombast, Layzie, Krayzie, and Wish prove that the lightning-fast, stutter-step style they first introduced to the world 13 years ago has lost none of its dizzying power. Key members Bizzie Bone and Flesh-N-Bone are no longer with the group, but this leaner incarnation has honed its strengths and made an album that is forceful and focused. Strength and Loyalty is produced entirely by Swizz Beats, and every inch sounds large and in charge. “Bump In the Trunk” is a tidal wave of a cruising song, while the storm of synths on “Order My Steps (Dear Lord)” are underscored by the song’s explicitly devotional Christian lyrics. Bone’s hallmarks are here as well: the mandatory ode to Cleveland (“C-Town”), the bittersweet anthem in the tradition of “Tha Crossroads” (“I Tried”), and even the full-scale adaptation of a unlikely pop hit from the past (in the past, it was Phil Collins; this time, Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” becomes the basis for the theatrical “Wind Blow”). For years, audiences thought Bone was down for the count, but with Strength and Loyalty, these complicated thugs keep the sinister and the spiritual in check while updating their incomparable style for a new audience.