Band of Skulls - “Himalayan”

Album

Band of Skulls - “Himalayan”

Band of Skulls

Label: Electric Blue Records

  • 4/5.

Reviewed by Jen Dan Apr 9, 2014

The U.K. trio rules with a super-tight set of rousing rockers and reflective ballads graced with sublime vocal harmonies.

U.K. rock trio Band of Skulls is back with another set of invigorating rockers and contemplative numbers on “Himalayan”, which was released on April 1st on Electric Blues Recordings.  All of the compositions are super-tightly structured and timed, rife with sublimely entwined vocal harmonies, and reference select eras of American rock ‘n’ roll without sounding like musty retreads.

Russell, Emma, and Matt know when to let loose and when to hang back, creating tension and catharsis within a song, whether it be a bold rocker or an understated ballad.  The band hit big with its debut album “Baby Darling Doll Face Honey” in 2009, a sonic statement of intent that was simultaneously retro and fresh, with the band members getting inventive within the confines of the rock genre.  Stop-on-a-dime guitar and drum dynamics, choir-like vocal melodies, and a mix of raw vulnerability and rousing defiance ruled that album.

On “Himalayan” the bandmates continue to rev down this road and are not afraid to explore emotive depth with their lyrics and vocal delivery like on the radio-friendly, smooth crooner “Nightmares”, or to strut their stuff and lay down a kicky beat and some gear-grinding riffs through a quick-change tune like lead single “Asleep at the Wheel”.  While not every song fires on all cylinders, highlights include the title song with its funky, sauntering groove, sliding vocal harmonies, and electric guitar push, and “Hoochie Coochie”, an old-time rock ‘n’ roll number replete with relentless piano rumble, well-timed cymbal crashes, and outta site slingshot vocals on the chorus.

The grimly-named “I Feel Like Ten Men, Nine Dead and One Dying” also engages with a rollicking wallop of surf guitar reverb, clean tap of drumsticks, lightly swooping vocals, and heavily heaving guitar riffs on the chorus.  The band takes a risk with the 1970s-steeped, singer-songwriter ballad “Get Yourself Together”, which closes out the album.  Picked and strummed guitars back Russell, who lays it on the line emotionally with heart-on-the-sleeve vocals imploring “Ask my broken heart for the damage.”  Sweet-sad, extended, squiggles of synth notes round out the sound.  It’s a bit too old-fangled and there is questionable use of certain instrumentation, but the reward is a touching connection between Russell and the listener.

And while the band has earned its reputation as a kick-ass live rock act, it turns out that the standout song of the album is in the same vein as the album-ender.  The exemplary “Cold Sweat” is a stirring ballad that starts off with a slow, reverb beat and then incorporates suddenly whipped up cyclonic sonics on the chorus sections.  Poignant strings and delicate, bell-tone tings surround Emma as she sings in a forlornly wistful, emotionally fragile, high register “How can I sleep / when nothing is enough?”.

Request Changes to this entry ▼ Visit Website

Comments

Post a Comment






Related Artist

Gallery

Himalayan by Band of Skulls Himalayan by Band of Skulls

Related Content

Recent Stories

Author & Punisher In Studio With Phil Anselmo Author & Punisher In Studio With Phil Anselmo

Housecore Records' Debut Coming In 2015; West Coast Tour In December

New Video and upcoming Album from singer/songwriter Duke Garwood New Video and upcoming Album from singer/songwriter Duke Garwood

The singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist with musical ties to Mark Lanegan and Alain Johannes will release "Heavy Love" album in February.

LearnToPlayMusic.com launches Apollo-M, the Netflix-style music-learning service LearnToPlayMusic.com launches Apollo-M, the Netflix-style music-learning service

LearnToPlayMusic.com announces the launch of the music-learning technology platform, Apollo-M, a revolutionary and unique on-demand, subscription-based music-learning and teaching service.

New Album from AC/DC in December New Album from AC/DC in December

Rock 'n' roll stalwarts AC/DC releases new album "Rock or Bust" in early December.

Faith No More Release Preview Of New Song “MOTHERF**KER” Faith No More Release Preview Of New Song “MOTHERF**KER”

LIMITED EDITION SINGLE AVAILABLE ON NOV. 28 VIA RECORD STORE DAY’S BLACK FRIDAY EVENT; DIGITAL RELEASE ON DEC. 9

Video: Hanni El Khatib - Family (Uncensored) Video: Hanni El Khatib - Family (Uncensored)

"Family" is great Los Angeles garage rock from Los Angeles-based Hanni El Khatib

Orange County Punk Rockers The Getdowns New Music Video Orange County Punk Rockers The Getdowns New Music Video

A look into the daily life of being in a punk rock band as shot by the band themselves. One day, one handheld action sports camera!

Boyracer premiers new Video for “Jump” Boyracer premiers new Video for “Jump”

Long-running DIY indie crash-popsters Stewart Anderson and Jen Turrell give a final farewell with a new 7" EP and video.

Enchant - “The Great Divide” Reviews: Enchant - “The Great Divide”

Devin Townsend - “Z²” Reviews: Devin Townsend - “Z²”