Written By: Greg Caldwell
Release Date: February 21st 2012
Record Label: Electric Blues Recording/Psycollective
Producer: Ian Davenport
There’s no denying that Rock has become tucked behind the Hip-Hop/Rap and Club scene. With Clear Channel ripping down every rock station that seems to exist and all the social watering holes pumping the latest LMFAO and Black Eyed Peas tune, it’s become more of a chore to find good Rock. Yet all this is not to say that Rock is dead, or even slowing. Some good things just take a little digging; enter Band of Skulls. These guys (and one gal) have been around since ’04 with releases Baby Darling Doll Face Honey and their Friends EP. They caught some attention when they landed a single on The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack and again when opening for acts such as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Dead Weather, and Muse. With their new album Sweet Sour ranking #14 in the U.K. and #138 in the U.S., this British trio is an act on the upswing.
It’s evident from the opening title track that the hooks are tasty and the blues thick, very appropriately dubbed Sweet Sour. The anthemic “Bruises” follows serving as a great ode to spring weather. “Lay My Head Down,” gives the album a gentle reprise from the onslaught of rock and roll blues, only to drop into a heavy sludge rock breakdown mid-track. And flanking this song are two jams that have all the gruff and groove, riff and rattle of great Rock. Delivering the type of lyrics you would expect from “You’re Not Pretty But You Got It Goin’ On,” Russell Marsden sings “Your tone deaf but your singing a song/You feel lost but you know where your from/Your not pretty but you got it goin’ on.” And yet while these tracks will have you jumping around playing air guitar in your tighty whities, Sweet Sour has a whole other dimension that deserves similar praise. Juxtapose prior tracks with the gentle harmonies and fingerpicking of “Hometowns” or “Navigate” and you have an album that will suit more than just your above-mentioned mood. It is here that lies Band of Skulls’ greatest quality; the subtle but dynamic strength of multiple singers/influences, and the yin and yang style in which they play off each other. If there is any criticism it is this: that the style music has been done and done again. However Band of Skulls execute a certain degree of Rock mastery in their tracks and Sweet Sour comes across as a cohesive, attention-grabbing album.
My advice: Pick it up. Inside you will find yourself fantastic rock sentiments and some good slow jams.
Best Album Jams: “Bruises” “You’re Not Pretty But You Got It Goin’ On” “Close to Nowhere” “Sweet Sour”
Similar Acts: The Black Keys, Queens of the Stone Age, The Parlor Mob, and most things Jack White
Upcoming Gigs in the Northeast:
3/22 New York, NY @ Webster Hall
3/26 Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club