Band Of Skulls “By Default”
Band of Skulls are one of those bands that we have always liked, but perhaps never quite loved. Maybe that’s because they just seemed to get lumped in with a load of other big riff groups who emerged around the time of Royal Blood. However, when we interviewed them we quickly realised that they are a really genuine bunch, who love what they do. So that gave us great hope for this new release.
“Blood Magic” and “Killer” make it clear that those big riffs haven’t been dispensed with. However, there is also a bit more of a swagger to many of the tracks on this release. “Back Of Beyond” has a far more rock n roll feel and is sung with a snarl and, we hope, a curled lip! It also sounds like they’re having far more fun. We get an almost ‘disco’ tinge on the absolutely brilliant “Bodies” (or are we alone in hearing Abba!?!).
There appears to have been a real widening of the band’s sound on this album. “Tropical Disease” has a variety that sees it sounding like a Soulwax version of a Bond theme tune. There also seems to be a better use of the bands vocal skills. Bassist, Emma Richardson’s vocals are prominent on many songs and lead on the very appropriately titled “So Good”.
We are not talking about a huge shift in the band’s style. There are enough of those big, riff driven, rock songs to keep their fans more than happy e.g. “This Is My Fix” and “Embers”. However, songs like “Little Momma” and “Singing Crowds” just have a bit more of a sparkle to them. There are extra light touches which really lift the songs. The album concludes wonderfully on “Something” which is Prince esque and quite brilliant.
To us, this album is a real step up from the band’s previous releases. It retains their original sound, but takes it much further to create their best release to date. For some reason it just sounds like the band are enjoying the songs more and have an extra confidence. It’s the type of album which could see the band shooting up the line-up of the big festivals like Reading or Glastonbury and assuming the deserved position of headliners.