A track from the middle of British rockers Band of Skulls' new release "Lay My Head Down" isn't the type of song you might find in the band's earlier work. In
an interview with Spin
they said of the song, "The idea was to have a song that comes across as slightly softer... we thought, 'Let's put a surprise in the middle!' It's really dynamic." And the band is right-- the album is a dynamic rock record, a feat that's no easy task. Sweet Sour
, Band of Skulls' sophomore release, doesn't adhere to one specific sub-genre of rock, but rather finds styles that keep the album from getting monotonous.
is not by any means a groudbreaking record, but rather an aggregate of some great styles of music. Tracks like "The Devil Takes Care of His Own" and the epynomous "Sweet Sour" have thrashing guitar solos and a White Stripes style bass drum that sounds like a wrecking ball. We already knew that Band of Skulls was capable of such feats on their first record, Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
, but what keeps this band away from a sophomore slump is adept variation. "You're Not Pretty But You Got it Goin' On" sounds like a mix between Battles and Led Zepplin, and softer tracks like "Bruises" or the Emma Richardson led "Navigate" show depth to the band's personality. These tracks give the right amount of breathing room between the heavy hitting bread and butter that Band of Skulls is known for, and it shows their promise for the future.
Band of Skulls are a prime example of a good contemporary rock band-- they don't cling to one chord progression, simple "baby yeah" lyrics, or to one electric guitar sound. This trio is heading in the right direction towards going from good to great; what it will take from here is for Band of Skulls to take all of the bands that they sound like, and make the sound their own.