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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

May 22, 2003
"Every time I go to record, I really want to get way more wild and I also want to write the best pop song ever written," Matt Mehlan, the 22-year old music technology student behind Skeletons, told me last month.

In comparison to what Matt says about Skeletons' first album, Everybody Dance with Your Steering Wheel (he sold CDR's of it on tour in 2002), Skeletons' second release, Life and the Afterbirth, was definitely more wild, and more awesome; what Mehlan considered "indie"-sounding on Everybody Dance with Your Steering Wheel is a more original blend of experimental electronic and pop music on Life and the Afterbirth; what were songs without bass-ends on Everybody Dance with Your Steering Wheel are beautifully layered examples of atmospheric depth on Life and the Afterbirth.

And to continue with the pattern, now I'm At the Top of the World supercedes its predecessors in terms of escalating wildness and pop genius, an intermediate step towards the avant-pop of Git (more on that in a bit). In the interim, I'm At the Top of the World displays a much fuller ("I put two bass tracks on every song on that one," Matt told me, "but that's totally a tech thing and I don't want to talk about that") sound, and its surely more "out there," as Mehlan puts it. Recorded in a week and a half, the album documents the next stage in Skeletons' evolution. According to Mehlan, because I'm At the Top of the World was recorded in such a short period of time, "it effects how a person is going to listen to it, but," he added, "because is that way, I think I did certain things more to my liking on that, and because I did it differently, different things came out."

The latest installment in Mehlan's saga as Skeletons features incredible juxtaposition of pop and noise elements, even more so than Life and the Afterbirth. The most glaringly noise track on the album runs for about twenty minutes; without a good listen, the song can be taken for almost a half an hour of static. "A lot of my friends," Matt says, "are like, why did you put that on there when the rest of the songs are three minute pop songs with a verse and a chorus and a bridge?, but I think that I'll always play both on the same album. That track in particular, if you just listen to two minutes of it, it would get the point across, or at least it would have an effect on how you view the rest of the album. Obviously it's not just static for 20 minutes, I mean that's what you get out of it if you listen to the whole thing - it's not just bullshit, I mean I don't think it's bullshit - I feel good about that track."

And even though I'm At the Top of the World itself is yet to be released, Mehlan is recording another album, the aforementioned Git, right now, for a future release, under the moniker Skeletons and the Girl-Faced Boys, with the fledgling electronic label Ghostly International. "The stuff I'm working on now," he explained, "is still trying to put [pop and noise] together in a way that makes sense. I try to put it all in the same song and I think I'll get better and better at that." That's not to say that every Skeletons song is an experiment in the merging of noise and pop, elements, though. There are still times, Mehlan says, where he simply tries "to record a pop song that's pristine." As he put it, "you make the music that you want to hear, at least hopefully." Because of the sheer beauty of his recordings (pristine and dissonant elements alike), though, I'm pretty sure that Matt Mehlan isn't the only one that wants to hear Skeletons' music.

SEE ALSO: www.skeletons.tv
SEE ALSO: www.shinkoyo.com

Jeanette Samyn
A contributing writer for LAS and a former music director WBAR at Barnard College.

See other articles by Jeanette Samyn.



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