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

Related Artist

Gallery

Himalayan by Band of Skulls Himalayan by Band of Skulls

Related Content

Recent Stories

Interview with DTCV Interview with DTCV

The Gentle Storm - The Diary Reviews: The Gentle Storm - The Diary

Hot Lunch Release “Slappy Sunday” EP Hot Lunch Release “Slappy Sunday” EP

Hippo Campus Announce Tour Dates with My Morning Jacket, Walk The Moon and Milky Chance Hippo Campus Announce Tour Dates with My Morning Jacket, Walk The Moon and Milky Chance

The Melvins Return To The Road; Le Butcherettes To Open The Melvins Return To The Road; Le Butcherettes To Open

NekrogoblIkon Return With Heavy Meta On June 2; Streaming New Song “Full Body Xplosion” NekrogoblIkon Return With Heavy Meta On June 2; Streaming New Song “Full Body Xplosion”

Interview with Grown Up Avenger Stuff Interview with Grown Up Avenger Stuff

Gavin Harrison - Cheating the Polygraph Reviews: Gavin Harrison - Cheating the Polygraph

Lonely Robot - Please Come Home Reviews: Lonely Robot - Please Come Home

MELT-BANANA Announces North American Tour MELT-BANANA Announces North American Tour

New EP from L.A.-based singer-songwriter Vince Grant New EP from L.A.-based singer-songwriter Vince Grant

Mick Jones of The Clash joins Paul Weller onstage in Stoke Mick Jones of The Clash joins Paul Weller onstage in Stoke

Flash Music Reviews for March 2015 Flash Music Reviews for March 2015

Torche Announce Summer Co-Headlining Tour With Melt-Banana Torche Announce Summer Co-Headlining Tour With Melt-Banana

Melvins’ Documentary, “The Colossus Of Destiny – A Melvins Tale,” Launches Kickstarter Campaign Melvins’ Documentary, “The Colossus Of Destiny – A Melvins Tale,” Launches Kickstarter Campaign

Distillers - Brody Armstrong Interview (from the archives) Distillers - Brody Armstrong Interview (from the archives)

Video: Our Friend “Sunny War” Collaborates With “Holtzclaw” On New Song “Just What I Am” Video: Our Friend “Sunny War” Collaborates With “Holtzclaw” On New Song “Just What I Am”

Band Spotlight: DulceSky Band Spotlight: DulceSky

New Single from Scottish indie rock band The Phantoms New Single from Scottish indie rock band The Phantoms

New Album from indie rock duo DTCV in April New Album from indie rock duo DTCV in April

New Video from UK Death Thrashers Arceye New Video from UK Death Thrashers Arceye

Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicides Band Spotlight Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicides Band Spotlight

Man Arrested In ’93 Murder Of Gits Singer Mia Zapata Man Arrested In ’93 Murder Of Gits Singer Mia Zapata

Beastie Boys - Too Many Rappers (ft. Nas) video, previously unreleased! Beastie Boys - Too Many Rappers (ft. Nas) video, previously unreleased!

Lowland Hum Release New Single “Odell” and Announce Tour Dates for Spring 2015 Lowland Hum Release New Single “Odell” and Announce Tour Dates for Spring 2015