Band Of Skulls – 'Himalayan' album review

Watch your backs, Arctics – the Southampton trio pull off a punchy, confident rock sound on album three

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Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5


If Britain did rock band-themed New Year celebrations, 2013 would obviously have been the Year of Arctic Monkeys. 2014 could be the Year of Band Of Skulls: the Southampton trio's third LP ‘Himalayan’ is their most confident, epic, and ambitious work to date.
 
Ten years of honing their style and touring with the likes of Muse, The Dead Weather and Queens Of The Stone Age have given ‘Himalayan’ a strut that didn’t appear on the band’s previous albums. Practically swinging its hips, the title track bursts in with light, trippy little riffs and subtle vocal harmonies, foreshadowing an album that is both diverse and grounded – not a common combination in contemporary British hard rock.
 
‘I Feel Like Ten Men, Nine Dead and One Dying’ is all gnarly Deep South blues and hints of menace: place your bets now for a sync on the next series of ‘True Blood’. ‘Cold Sweat’ comes across like a tribute to Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang’, with Emma Richardson’s shivery, haunting vocals matched by a spectral instrumental. ‘You Are All That I Am Not’, meanwhile, is sweet enough for the slow dance at prom.
 
It’s clear that these three musicians have worked hard and arrived to a point where they feel bold enough to try and create something that is absolutely their own. Band Of Skulls may not be ripping up the rock ’n’ roll rulebook, but ‘Himalayan’ is a gutsy, assertive mixture that suggests that they’re still more than eager to prove themselves.


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