Review: Band of Skulls – By Default

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Band of Skulls move in a new direction for their fourth album, By Default.

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Southampton locals Band of Skulls are a rock trio consisting of Russell Marsden, Emma Richardson, and Matt Hayward. They already have three successful studio albums under their belts, and are now set to release their follow-up to 2014’s Himalayan. Their latest album By Default is set for release on Friday 27th May.

When listening to their new album there is immediately a sense that they are departing slightly from their established sound. By no means is this to an extent that they have become unrecognisable, but rather that the album is a refreshing listen for those that want to hear something a bit different from the band without losing what is great about them. By Default was recorded at Rockfield Studios and is produced by Gil Norton, who is renowned for his work producing albums for the likes of Pixies, Foo Fighters, and Feeder.

The album kicks off with ‘Black Magic’, which sets the scene for the album with their signature bluesy sound. It is soon followed by ‘Back of Beyond’ which is one of the tracks that stands out the most on this album. It is unlike any other track on the record, through its echoes towards a more classic rock sound. The addition of a catchy beat means you will find yourself humming along to it later in the day. ‘Killer’ is next and exhibits a steady drumbeat and driving guitar lines, which act as the ideal backdrop for the Marsden’s vocals. ‘So Good’ soon follows to give bassist and vocalist Emma Richardson the opportunity to shine in her own right. Lyrics such as “I was all liquored and blind then / you, blew, my mind” and “Lonely rogue / never thought that I would find it” especially stand out through Richardson’s flawless vocals. The more reflective ‘Erounds’ follows a few tracks later before concluding with final track ‘Something.’

By Default stands strong amongst Band of Skulls’ previous albums as something new and refreshing, while still leaving room for the band to progress in the future. ‘Back of Beyond’ and ‘So Good’ are particularly stand out tracks, the latter of which has already been released as a single. By Default is an accomplished fourth studio album for Band of Skulls and will no doubt have fans excited for future material.

By Default will be released on Friday 27th May via BMG.

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