Album Review: Band of Skulls – By Default

band of skullsBand of Skulls – By Default

Garage Rock

38%

I had a hard time thinking how to place this album. To all intents and purposes Band of Skulls are a garage rock band, but this album doesn’t bear any of the hallmarks. The musicianship isn’t up to scratch and the album lacks any energy or conviction. If this was a band just starting out, still finding their feet in the business and honing their sound I could understand, but for a fourth album it’s inexcusable. It’s a severe mis-step following the relative success of their previous album Himalayan. This latest offering is a graceless lumbering dullard of an album lacking any spark of passion or excitement. At times it feels like the band was held at gunpoint and made to record the songs against their will.

The shamelessly T Rex-esque glammed up rock’n’roll of ‘Back of Beyond’ is sadly the album’s only redeeming factor. There are a few other scattered moments worthy of attention, such as the hints of funk in ‘So Good’ and the frantic organ on ‘Tropical Disease’, but they are far too fleeting to insert some much needed vigour into the equation. The band have not come up trumps with any hits here so it’s no wonder that they aren’t passionate about the songs. I think they need to go away and have a serious rethink, put some blood, sweat and tears into a big attention grabbing album and leaving this chapter behind. No guts no glory.

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