“Bones to Ashes” comes from the second Singer Soldier album, Illusions of Stability. It is a song of fragile beauty, beginning with softly strummed acoustic guitar and delicately floating male/female vocals. Chiming guitars and steady, purposeful percussion follow, as the story is told of a haunted soul (“When I close my eyes, I pray to god I will survive”). From snippets of lyrics like “time to move on, time to be strong,” one surmises this is about a failed relationship, but it’s a pretty song that sparkles with determination and hope. Toward the end, the guitars melt into a hypnotic electronic trance, perhaps signaling a “moving on” of sorts.
Singer Soldier is the alternative country project of Nick Marko, a multi-instrumentalist from Detroit, Michigan, who has played guitar, drums and piano for bands like Gutwrench (his first band), The Holy Fire (produced by Flaming Lips bassist Michael Ivins), Leaving Rouge, Singer & Soldier and Levagood. With The Holy Fire, he’s performed on bills with bands such as TV on the Radio, Metric and the Constantines. Marko is also a savvy entrepreneur with his music publishing company ALP Music. His eclectic background includes studying fire science in school and working as a roofer in Texas and as a cook in Santa Monica, California, before focusing on his music full-time. His influences are diverse, from Bob Mould and other indie rock to hardcore punk, thrash and hip-hop. Favorites include Pixies, Ramones, Hüsker Dü, Motörhead, Metallica, Misfits and Public Enemy.
Illusions of Stability features luscious instrumentation — piano, drums, bassoon, violin, cello and mandolin, in addition to guitars. This is certainly not your standard “alt country” music, weaving artfully between alternative rock, alt folk, classical and electronic.