Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour

January 01, 1970

(Vagrant)

 

www.vagrant.com

 

“And lo, the Gods of Rock bestowed upon me the Album of The
Year.  And it was good.”

 

Two songs into Sweet
Sour,
the sophomore offering from Manchester
England’s
Band of Skulls that is the first thing that popped into my mind and I believe
every word.  Sweet Sour systematically lays waste to all would be rockers, indie
types, shoe gazers, art school dropouts and no wave warriors; the record is an
honest to goodness rock record whose heaviness is refreshing.

 

The moments of beautifully strummed acoustic are few,
“Navigate” being the exception to
the rule.  There is no coma inducing
soundscapes, no whispered lyrics, and no folk strumming.  This is a blues-rock explosion befitting the
giants of the 1970’s.  Within the ten
songs that make up Sweet Sour there
is enough ZZ Top boogie (“You Ain’t Pretty But You Got it Going On”) to make
Billy Gibbons’ beard twitch with delight. 
There are sufficient levels of darkness to scare the crap out of your uptight folks and enough Tony Iommi doom filled
guitar crunch (“Sweet Sour” and “The Devil Takes Care of His Own” especially)
to crush the balls of a Cyclops.

 

While the heaviness to nice, the true key to Sweet Sour is the inner play of
guitarist Russell Marsden and bassist Emma Richardson.  Their shared lead vocals intertwine with one
another, feeding off each other’s power, a fire smoldering just below the
surface.  It is an almost sexual vibe, as
if they could, mid song, throw down their instruments, tear off each other’s
clothes and commence to ripping one another to shreds.

 

Sweet Sour is aggressive, dark, sultry but, at the same time, an
extremely beautiful record.  Band of
Skulls have taken up the garage rock template of bands like The Black Keys and
The White Stripes; welcoming the comparisons to those bands (unlike The
Stripes, Band of Skulls actually have a fantastic drummer in Matt Hayward), the
shadows, the waves of the human psyche and embodying all the great elements of
Zeppelin, Sabbath and T-Rex.  In the
process, Band of Skulls has made a new rock and roll classic.  Sweet
Sour
has restored my faith in “The Devil’s Music.”

 

Amen.

 

DOWNLOAD: “The Devil Takes Care of His Own,”  “Bruises,” “Lies” DANNY R. PHILLIPS

 

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