Three albums in, and Southampton trio Band Of Skulls are clearly very happy keeping to what they know. With almost no flourishes beyond the essential guitar, bass, drums and vocals, they trade in punchy, stomping tracks that owe a debt to the classic rock of the ’70s as much as to modern rock titans Jack White and Dave Grohl.
On Himalayan they are clearly aiming big, crafting songs intended to reach the bleachers and fill arenas. And to their credit, they mostly stick the landing. What elevates Band Of Skulls above the masses is their knack for writing big, hook-filled earworms and the excellent vocal interplay of guitarist Russell Marsden and bassist Emma Richardson.
While never straying too far from their classic rock roots, Band Of Skulls are pleasingly versatile on Himalayan as they veer from the heavy riffing of (the brilliantly-titled) ‘I Feel Like Ten Men, Nine Dead And One Dying’ to the much moodier, Richardson-fronted ‘Cold Sweat’. In between these extremes, highlights like the playful ‘I Guess I Know You Fairly Well’ and ‘Nightmares’ are bound to be crowd favourites.
In a musical landscape where being a traditional, no-frills rock band is almost taboo, Himalayan is a refreshing slab of big and unashamedly bold rock songs.
Himalayan out now on Electric Blues/[PIAS]