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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

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
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Skeletons
Money
Tomlab

Rating: 7.2/10 ?


November 14, 2008
With a sound that truly verges on unclassifiable, Brooklyn-based freak-niks Skeletons are an anomaly even at the venerable Tomlab label, which stables an entire herd of experimental artists. For a group to stand out as uniquely off center amid labelmates such as Xiu Xiu and Deerhoof is rather remarkable.

Fronted by singer/multi-instrumentalist Matt Mehlan, the fifth full-length album under the Skeleton's banner (third for the full group) features dispirate, seemingly incohesive musical undertones that are tenuously held together by Mehlan's R&B/pop croons. Fretboard noodling, sputtering drums and a menacing bass undercurrent comprise a confounding blend on "The THINGS," which segues unknowingly into "RIPPER a.ka. The Pillows," the latter sounding like Perry Farrell fronting John Zorn's avant-jazz band Naked City.

Skeletons never seems content to rest in one genre, which works both to their benefit and their disadvantage. Mehlan eerily evokes the frail falsetto of Thom Yorke on "STEPPER a.k.a. Work," the most "accessible" cut on the record that features some slow Timbaland-styled bounce, breezy guitars and various electronic sprinkles. As is to be expected, the band quickly forgets their meds and indulges in the eleven-and-a-half-minute freeform freakout "BOOOM! (Money)," before once again settling down for "Unrelentinglessness." Playing out like the result of a barbershop quartet recording in a bathroom while Sonic Youth provided the soundtrack, the track's odd combination still miraculously manages to connect.

But then, that is the conundrum of this often difficult record, which at times seems like a re-imagining of Mr. Bungle's Disco Volante (at which it doesn't succeed) and other times a reincarnation of Syd Barrett's psychedelic flower-pop. For a band that has had a hard time settling on a name with each record (from Skeletons to Skeletons & The Girl-Faced Boys to Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities and back), the lack of a true identity translates into a lack of directional focus. That might be their point, but there is experimentation for the sake of experimentation and experimentation for sake of enjoyment. Money, unfortunately, is mostly the former.

Reviewed by Kiran Aditham
When not contributing to LAS and other music/film publications, Kiran Aditham toils away during the day in Manhattan as a reporter for an advertising magazine…though he’d rather not say which one.

See other reviews by Kiran Aditham

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