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SKULLCAVE Against All Odds gets 8/10


Skullcave
Against All Odds
Independent

8/10

Without rehashing earlier musings on the pros and cons of pigeon-holing Skullcave’s music, it seems undeniable that they are extremely listenable. The genres that the band is usually associated with are not often renowned for this trait, nor is it always considered desirable. The newly released single Against All Odds erases any doubt that in Skullcave’s case, this melodic accessibility is most definitely a virtue.

In the opening lines, drummer and vocalist Liam Young’s repeated, disaffected drawl is borderline Britpop. Young is an exceptional singer, so it should be no surprise that he can find tones beyond the standard scream and clean, and he makes his choices wisely. The effect is to bring the listener almost uncomfortably close. It’s naked, unaffected and vulnerable.

All this stripped back anxiety sets things up for what you know is coming. Presaged by a distant thrum of distortion, the guitars and echoed voices join and strengthen the lament, then everything explodes in a deeply satisfying angry scream, backed by Skullcave’s trademark grinding grooves.  

The tempest is violent but quick. Before the song’s respectable six and a half minutes is even halfway up, that energy dissipates into a hauntingly beautiful and extended coda. Guitarist Jay Marriott’s deft way with dreamy and layered melody and feedback is very much on show. It’s pretty much sunlight through storm clouds and every bit as attractive as that sounds.

What is clear, as the final keyboard note fades, is that Skullcave’s ongoing collaboration with Ron Pollard at Studio Sleepwalker’s Dread continues to bear fruit, and Against All Odds is one sweet and heavy peach. 

MYKI JONEZ

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