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Josh T. Landow

CD of The Week

Week of 4/29/19

    Band of Skulls - Love Is All You Love (So / Silva Street)

    We were introduced to Band of Skulls almost exactly a decade ago with their debut album Baby Darling Doll Face Honey. The UK band brought a big, stomping British blues-rock power trio sound to the mid-'00s scene. They continued in this same vein, releasing three more consistently solid records over the years. However, Band of Skulls faced their first major shakeup a few years back with a split from drummer Matt Hayward. Now a duo of guitarist/singer Russell Marsden and bassist/singer Emma Richardson, Band of Skulls have carried on with their fifth album, Love is All You Love.

    Without Hayward, the band collaborated further with the album's producer Richard X on writing and playing the songs, adding in more electronic elements. They brought in drummer Julian Dorio (The Whigs, Eagles of Death Metal) later to ensure a traditional drum sound was in the mix as well.

    While not straying too far from their usual vibe, Band of Skulls do play around with some different textures and techniques on Love is All You Love. Album opener "Carnivorous" is large and ominous and brings to mind some of the epic-ness of Muse. "That's My Trouble" is a big, dynamic, grooving jam, with the upbeat duet "Not the Kind of Nothing I Know" another highlight. While both members have always intertwined their vocals, Richardson takes the lead on the mellow "Sound of You."

    "Cool Your Battles" and "Speed of Light" each take cues from U2's widescreen sound and dynamics. "Thanks a Lot" also features some slicker production. The album title is a cheeky circular play on one of The Beatles' most famous lyrics and many of these songs seem to tackle love in one way or another.

    On Love is All You Love, Band of Skulls may have shaken up some of the elements they work with, but it's all underlying what has always been the bedrock of their sound: Marsden and Richardson's musical interplay. Band of Skulls return to Philadelphia at the end of this summer, playing Union Transfer on September 18th.
    Review by Joey O.

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