Album reviews: Band Of Skulls – ‘Baby Darling Doll Face Honey’

The sleazy spirit of the Midwest swaggers out of Southampton

‘Death By Diamonds And Pearls’ sounds like a lovely way to go. Glam and dangerous and just a bit kinky, it’s absolutely not the sort of thing that happens in the Ritzys and gastropubs of Southampton. The fact that Band Of Skulls come from somewhere so mundane makes this low-slung grimy lead single all the more impressive. Plus, there’s the fact that, thanks to an iTunes Single Of The Week for similarly ace debut ‘I Know What I Am’ and a ‘wherever’ attitude to touring, they are now bigger all around the world than they are at home.

‘Baby Darling Doll Face Honey’, their debut album, takes place in permanent twilight on a dust track some place in the Midwest, with redneck gimps at every corner. Its hypnotic fuzz is like spending an hour in your own personal True Blood sex scene. ‘I Know What I Am’ sounds a lot like what would happen if [a]The Duke Spirit[/a] were to hurry up and get on with throwing themselves on the bonfire, and channels [a]The Kills[/a] at their most swaggering. Elsewhere, paganist hymn ‘Honest’ sees co-frontwoman Emma Richardson take centre stage and pull off a similar trick with a heartwarming glee – Bonnie to other frontperson Russell Marsden’s Clyde. It makes you think improper thoughts like, ‘Shit, The Delgados were actually proper good’. Best of all though is the Gram Parsons-ish, smouldering (sorry) ‘Fires’, so deliciously evocative it’s like taking a hike to The Joshua Tree.

It comes a little unstuck by the end of course (‘Blood’ is just boring), but overall this is a delight, going bump in the night in more ways than one. If you know what we’re saying. And, hush now, it’s a way more charming version of what Jack White’s trying to do with [a]The Dead Weather[/a].

Dan Martin

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Click here to get your copy of Band Of Skulls’ ‘Baby Darling Doll Face Honey’ from the Rough Trade shop.