The ex-Smith proves his greatness on a spiky live album
Band Of Skulls - 'Sweet Sour'
Proficient, precision-executed blues-rock with few genuine surprises
Yet inevitably, for all that’s impressive about their second album, it’s much like going on Nemesis at Alton Towers for the 100th time – you already know its every thrilling twist and turn. Just hear the way the crunching QOTSA riffs of ‘Bruises’ segue into the pared-down torch-song rock of ‘Wanderluster’, the type of pace change that’s been heard on every blues-rock album this side of the genre’s early ’00s purple patch. Or check out the age-old loud-quiet dynamic deployed on the title track.
Even a cursory glance at the song titles – from ‘The Devil Takes Care Of His Own’ to ‘You’re Not Pretty But You Got It Goin’ On’ – is like digging into blues-rock’s most ancient scrolls. Only on the latter of these tracks do Band Of Skulls truly hit their musical stride, going for folksy subtlety over bombast, allowing co-vocalist Emma Richardson’s coos truly to take centrestage away from the album’s heavier moments.
Ultimately, from start to finish, you know what you’ve ordered: proficient, precision-executed blues-rock with few genuine surprises. Which, while hardly a ringing endorsement, has worked to spectacular effect for The Black Keys over the past decade. See you down the front at Ally Pally in 2020, then.
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