by Sean Kolczynski
Skegss’ new album comes just in time to brush off the cold from the end of a long winter, and move into the higher energy of spring. Rehearsal brings some upbeat vibes to the table, and reminds us that we are alive in this exciting world. After a year of negativity, this may be just what the doctor ordered.
Rehearsal is Australian surf punk band Skegss’ sophomore release. The three-piece has been in the scene since 2014, originally getting by as the band who would “play anywhere for a hundred bucks and a couple beers.” After that, they consistently released around two singles a year, until their first album My Own Mess was released in 2018. That album was their big break onto the scene, with their popularity reaching beyond their home country and entering the ears of the United States.
Vibe-wise, this release fits cleanly into the sound that Skegss has built themselves on. Surf punk is truly the heart and soul of the band, and is ever present throughout this album. However, Skegss also brings in some country rock this time around, with a good amount of acoustic guitar and up-tempo rhythms to go along with it. By no means is this a “country album,” but instead the sound is sprinkled about to add some flavor, and it really pays off. The final result is a set of songs that could be the backdrop of a campfire, or a summer drive, or skating around under the sunset.
This raw, cathartic tone is supported by the lyrics, and more importantly, by the way in which lead singer Ben Reed delivers them. “Fantasizing” exemplifies this well, as Reed sings about how he is constantly “Fantasizing about the future / Holding onto the front of the past.” The song is about him grappling with that future, the passage of time, and trying not to get too lost in the reflection, but rather the actual moments and memories. Reed belts each word out as if you were hearing his heart itself sing, and this personal, relatable song washes the listener over with a sense of peace and hope. That’s the general gist of most of Rehearsal, in fact. Some songs are a touch darker, like “Wake Up,” which carries themes of self doubt and regret. Others are much more positive, like “Sip of Wine,” a love song about the pure joy of being with someone you can’t get enough of. Each song obviously is unique in its own way, but all of them carry a central piece, almost an emotional ingredient, that gives the entire album an overarching sense of life. It’s a reminder of each and every thing that is worth living for, a reason to get up and dance. A reason to remember that every moment of life is precious and worthwhile, something that many of us find ourselves forgetting all too often.
Rehearsal is a great next step for Skegss, as they shift to a country focus but stick with the rock flair that makes them who they are. A ripsnorter of songs that will be on many a summer playlist this year. This release is a reason to be excited for what Skegss may bring on next, as they continue their navigation into larger releases. And in a year where we all need an energy boost, Rehearsal is the perfect release. So have a listen, and make sure you “Savour The Flavour.”