Review: Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour

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Artist: Band of Skulls
Album: Sweet Sour
Genre: Indie-Rock/Blues-Rock
Label: Electric Blues Recordings

It has been quite some time since Band of Skulls have released new material. Both the Friends EP and the live album Live on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic were released back in ’10, and since then the band has kept fairly quiet. Finally, the three-piece have broken the silence with their sophomore effort Sweet Sour. Like the title implies, the album is a bombastic blend of sludgy distortion and haunting melodics.

Sweet Sour opens with the self-titled track and the album’s first single. Generally, the albums that place their first single within the first several tracks end up being lackluster and an embarrassment to the band. However, that is not the case with Sweet Sour. Commanding drums-like God knocking on your front-door-the crisp bite of a guitar riff with Russell Marsden and Emma Richardson singing, “sour by the minute, but you’re sweeter by the hour,” introduces the album.

The album’s ten tracks are a dizzying, delightful mix of scuzzy, blues-infused indie rock and introspective melodic indie-pop; which are fluidly connected by a natural ebb and flow which establishes a perfect sonic pace. And to narrow down two or three tracks that stand out from the rest, that are somehow better than the others is difficult. However, the brash and bratty “The Devil Takes Care of His Own,” the melancholy infused “Navigate,” and the jaunty wistfulness  of “Bruises” stand out as some of the best on Sweet Sour.

The Band of Skulls have crafted an incendiary album with their sophomore effort, Sweet Sour. The juxtaposition between the crass, bluesy instrumentation and the smooth, rich vocal harmonies between Marsden and Richardson provide the album with a depth of quality. And with each successive spin the album becomes more and more satisfying. Simply put, Sweet Sour is an album worth spending an entire weekend listening to.

Score: 8/10
Review written by: Ethan Merrick

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