“It’s an idiot savant record, lovely, well balanced pop bristling under the surface of what seems to be something that was put together in a shed over the weekend and recorded onto a Dictaphone wielded by a sugared-up toddler.” – Dara Higgins on Skelocrats‘ Whip Crack Away.
Being referred to as a supergroup, cannot in the short run, do Skelocrats any favours. This country needs little excuse to cock a snook in your direction at any given time, but to refer to a group comprising members of Popical Island lable-buddies Grand Pocket Orchestra, We Are Losers, Groom and Land Lovers, none of whom have even, you know, headlined Castlepalooza on a Friday, as a Supergroup, like Blind Faith or that time George Michael played with Queen, is utter bollocks, RIGHT?
It’s a shame, because the music contained within lives on its own, entirely. It doesn’t need any facile marketing gimmick journalistic shorthand to make it stand out. It’s short, fuzzy pop, low fi in the proper sense: There’s a blogfull of “low-fi” out there where the bands in question have been slavishly practicing their own devolution to death. You can’t learn this kind of grubbiness, you really must live it. On Whip Crack Away there’s real studio verity; microphone pops and off mic yakking, amp hum, sticks and various other sounds of work being done punctuating throughout and, with the spontaneity in the playing, it’s as if it’s being created right in front of your ears. It takes a studio refinement of a different kind to say “that’s grand” and leave the work alone. The simple aspect of the playing and songs aids this process of course. Songs end long before any of this might come across as an affectation. It just seems, well, natural.
The voices mesh together in a quite lovely way, sitting above the raucous, under-produced, garage pop underneath, in a way that suggests an actual knack with dynamics, an actual ability to write. There’s the rub, it’s as if they’ve gone to great lengths to cover up the craft contained within, but, happily failed. It’s an idiot savant record, lovely, well balanced pop bristling under the surface of what seems to be something that was put together in a shed over the weekend and recorded onto a Dictaphone wielded by a sugared-up toddler. Except we know it wasn’t, because we’re told this is a SUPERGROUP, with attendant super powers and a combined experience of many decades within the business we call entertainment. Supergroup: ARGH. Music WIN!. This dainty little slugger deserves better than that.
After all that, Grand Pocket Orchestra, We Are Losers, Groom and Land Lovers should, in future, refer to themselves as containing members of Skelocrats.
Whip Crack Away is available now from http://skelocrats.bandcamp.com.