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Album review: Himalayan

04/09/2014

The American actor Martin Mull is said to have once quipped that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” I’m inclined to agree with him. But the British trio Band of Skulls just released what is, in my opinion, their strongest and most diverse album to date, and I would be failing the readers of The Chanticleer if I didn’t draw their attention to it.

An alt-rock group from Southampton, England, Band of Skulls consists of lead singer and guitarist Russell Marsden, bassist Emma Richardson and drummer Matt Hayward.

Chances are, you’ve heard at least one Band of Skulls song, even if you didn’t realize that’s who you were listening to. Their music has been featured on several popular TV shows, like Friday Night Lights and more recently, True Detective. A single called “Friends” even made it onto The Twilight Saga: New Moon’s soundtrack.

But the first time I listened to Band of Skulls was back in 2010, right after I started attending JSU. Ford used the song “Light of the Morning” in a commercial for the 2011 Mustang. “Light of the Morning” was the second single off the Skulls’ first album, Baby Darling Dollface Honey, which was released in 2009. 

Since then, the trio has put out two studio albums, the latest of which—“ H i m a l a y a n ” —dropped on March 31st.

I heard the band was working on a new album months and months ago; waiting for it to be released felt like a painful eternity.

It was April 1st before I got my hands on “Himalayan,” but Band of Skulls’ third offering is no April fool’s joke. The album is a blues-infused, rock-and-roll romp. It opens with the first single released from the album, “Asleep at the Wheel.” The track propels the listener into the album with a pounding tempo, and brings to mind a fever dream of driving late at night. The chorus, belted by Marsden, lets one know that where the Skulls are going “is anyone’s guess.”

Track number two, “Himalayan,” is probably the best song on the album. It differs from most of the other music Band of Skulls has put out; it’s definitely still alternative rock, but instead of being heavy and deep and almost sluggish, it’s light and a little funky. It also features the three members of the band harmonizing really beautifully toward the end.

If you’re looking for something reminiscent of the blues rock of the 1960s and ‘70s but with a modern twist, check out Band of Skulls new album, “Himalayan.”

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