in Review

Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour

I’m not sure when or where I first heard about Band of Skulls but it’s hard to forget a name like “Band of Skulls.” With a name that sounds perfectly suited for a Norwegian death metal band, you might be surprised to find that Band of SKulls is actually a hard rock trio from Southampton. Sweet Sour is the group’s second release and though I’ll say it definitely has it’s moments that’s really all it is, moments. So if you’re looking for the latest and greatest in hard rock you probably wont find it here, but that doesn’t mean you wont enjoy parts of Sweet Sour

The leadoff track, which also happens to be the title track, should be able to give any rock junkie a fix with it’s droning beat and buzzing hammer-ons. Vocal duties on the track and most tracks are split between guitarist Matt Hayward and bassist Emma Richardson. Utizling the male/female hard rock dynamic, it’s hard not to think of Alison Mosshart and Jack White from The Dead Weather, but I think Richardson and Hayward’s vocals tend to blend better and in a very beautiful way. Drummer Russell Marsden provides some perfectly John Bonham-esque beats and ultimately the trio creates a very full sound. I was actually really digging this album on about the first three tracks, but after that my mind started to wander.

Somewhere in the middle of this album I found myself zoning out, and not because I was getting lost in the groove of a song. Constantly I found myself checking how much of the song was left in iTunes and that certainly can’t be good. Like I said earlier in my review there are a lot of great “moments” on Sweet Sour but as a whole it can be boring. I think what did it for me was being worn out by the track runtimes. This is a band that should learn to utilize tracks around the 2:50-3:00 range, as they’re really not doing enough to warrant 5:00 plus minutes. If these songs had a lot of varied sections or some improvisation I’d be content, but these songs just seem to keep going and going. I almost contemplated giving this album a slightly lower rating but I just love some of the things they’re doing so much that I’ll let them settle in with the typical mildly pleased rating.

Favorite Tracks: “Bruises”, “Lay My Head Down”, “Sweet Sour”