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Eat Skull : III

EAT SKULL – III – LP

It can’t have escaped the notice of anyone with ears and an interest in indie-rock that the trend of reverse fidelity snobbery that seemed so prevalent towards the end of the last decade appears to be dying down; with the onus once again very much on big, shiny production values, those groups still burying their mumbled vocals under layers of distorted guitar and recording their songs on old cassette boomboxes are now finding themselves swimming somewhat against the tide. One band that seem willing to adapt but reluctant to change their ways too much are Portland’s Eat Skull, who are back after a four-year absence with their third long-player, the imaginatively-titled III, out February 19 on that last bastion of lo-fi, the Woodsist label. If their version of “upping the ante” doesn’t stretch as far as getting Brian Eno in on production duties, the leap in ambition in terms of songwriting is evident right from the start, with synth-heavy opener “Space Academy” (below) actually recalling The Egg Headed One’s earliest ’70s glam-pop solo material (Here Come The Warm Jets), and grungey rockers “Dead Horses” and “Your Hate” offering plenty of opportunities to stomp, whistle and holler along to melodies that are not only audible but also (whisper it) accessible. The biggest surprise, though, is “How Do I Know When To Say Goodnight“, a primitively rendered ambient-dub-techno-pop experiment that stretches out to space whilst remaining rooted in the same muddy earth as contemporaries like Times New Viking and label bosses Woods, and although the the dirge-laden second half of the album struggles to keep up that initial momentum, those first four songs alone are reason enough to argue that modern psychedelic rock is best when it steps out of the murk and reaches for the stars.

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About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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