Words by Nadia Dar

Band of Skulls is back and rowdier than ever with their new album, By Default. Featuring the same hard-hitting sound we all know and love, plus the amazing talents of producer Gil Norton (Pixies, Foo Fighters, Patti Smith) this album offers just about everything you could want from a Band of Skulls record. Hard rock roots, underground indie ambience, and no regards for boundaries. Now THAT sounds like a good time.

Not only does By Default showcase the trio’s signature grit, but it also proves they aren’t scared to step out of their comfort zone. There are a number of songs on the album that struck me as surprisingly thematic. It’s almost like the band just tried on some different skins while still jamming out in their garage.

The first song that caught my attention was “Back of Beyond”. As the second track on the album it really came swinging at the right time. It also did a remarkable job at reviving the roots of 50’s rock n roll and mixing in a dirty Southern twist. It was as if I had just stumbled upon a old roller-skating diner in the deep mid-west.

Another theme that stuck out to me was the 007 vibe I picked up while listening to “Tropical Disease”. Although it is a lot harder to tell if this was intentional, Emma Richardson’s bass riff throughout the song certainly gives off that impression. The bridge of this track did an incredible job of joining that sleek, smooth presence with the booming garage rock sound we’re so accustomed to from Band of Skulls.

While I was excited to hear the experimentation in some of the other tracks, it was refreshing to listen to something that completely encapsulated what the rock trio is about. “Little Mamma” and “Black Magic” did just that. Both songs started with this almost eerie, and sly verse that would lead you down a path, eventually exploding into this roaring and demanding chorus. It felt so familiar and so fresh at the same time.

In short, this album had it all. Smooth vocals, heavy hitting tone, and absolutely no fear for the unknown. Band Of Skulls have managed to hit all the necessary beats for a solid fourth record, and they’ve done it effortlessly.

Band of Skulls
‘By Default’
BMG Rights Management
© May 27th, 2016



TheWaster.com | By Default