Earlier this month, Nottingham alt-rock trio Some Skeletons released their debut album Vigils on indie label Mountains of Records. Aidan Blenkinsopp, James Housley and Simon J. Curd met and formed at Nottingham University a few years ago after being in various bands separately. Having released a couple of EPs as a four piece, they decided to carry on as a trio rather than replace their former fourth band member, Adam, when he left. There’s been a bit of a gap between music as James was involved in a serious car crash, postponing the album’s recording until late last year, produced by Luke.Pickering and the band themselves. However, this may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it seems the song writing wasn’t as rushed as it might have been…
Some Skeleton’s sound possesses roots in British alternative rock bands from the late 90s and early 2000s (such as Idlewild and Biffy Clyro), but is now more ‘middle of the road’. American bands aren’t completely ignored either, as you can clearly hear the influence of Brand New as well as the forefathers of the alt-rock scene, The Smashing Pumpkins. Like all those bands, Some Skeletons manage to allow classic melodies and harmonies with catchy guitar hooks merge with heavier riffs, as well as having something to say lyrically.
The album begins with The Mouth, which, although only clocking in at just over a minute and with quite a slow tempo, boasts great melody and harmonies by the band. This manages to lull you into a false sense of security for the rest of the album. After the drummer counts in the guitar riff on To Exceed; To Achieve, it feels like a punch in the face. Lyrically, it’s a great song with the chorus of “It’s your friends in the way”. This relentless pace continues on Indoor Meteors and Up On The Rocks, which are both equally great with their mix of heavy, melodic rock. On Beach Party, the band channel their inner Brand New, which is never a bad thing in my book .The first half of the song is probably the heaviest on the album, then the tempo drops to the pace of a ballad three-quarters of the way through – only for it to gradually speed up again for the last minute. No Respite is an apt song title as they race through the next couple of tracks. The closing track, Rush For Mercy, begins as the opening track did, with the guitar melodies taking centre stage, although this goes beyond a minute and the riffs get heavier as the song reaches its climax.
Although they clearly wear their influences on their sleeves, Some Skeletons still manage to sound fresh and not just derivative of what’s come before them.
Vigils comes in at just over 30 minutes which I believe is perfect for a band like this (it means you’re likely to listen all the way through), and it seems they’ve not put any filler tracks on the album. Unfortunately, I missed them a few weeks ago in Brighton when they toured before the album’s release, but hopefully they’ll be back in the New Year. I can imagine that they would sound fantastic live, and some of these songs will sound even more raw in the flesh.
Vigils by Some Skeletons is out now on Mountains of Records
By Simon England.