After the rusty-Tin-Man start that is “Light of the Morning”, BoS marches into White Stripes territory with “Death by Diamonds and Pearls”, but quickly escapes the readymade comparisons with the soothing “Honest” and the groove-chic “Patterns”. In fact, these two songs, though buried in the middle of the album, are vital to hearing the sonic profile of Band of Skulls. The “hey” shouts in the cool-hot-cool-hot “Hollywood Ball” are some of the highest parts of the record. Plus, the soaring choruses of “Impossible” keep some of the other tracks on the back end of the album from sagging too low into Black Keys-esque fuzz-grunge noise.
The vocals of Russell Marsden and Emma Richardson are worth mentioning. Each of them alternates between soulful and ghostly, their harmonies are distinctive, and when they play off each other in rapid-fire fashion (like in the verses of “I Know What I Am”) the strength of Band of Skulls becomes apparent – as a drum-and-guitar trio, they do so much with so very little. Their music is fairly basic in structure, but “Baby Darling Doll Face Honey” seems to be the poster child for the idea of “Less is more”. It sounds roughly cut, and in the days of auto-tune, it’s almost a blessing to hear. I’m intrigued for their second album to see if their sound becomes more elaborate, or if it will maintain the simpler set-up that they established on their debut. Time will only tell, but for now, I’m going to put “Impossible” back on and enjoy heat of summer.
RATING: 3.5/5 stars