Having earned a phenomenal reputation for their powerful live performances, including several supports at the personal request of Elvana, Leeds four-piece SKULL are set to launch their debut LP, THOUGHTS OF THE OTHERS, on 13 April via Shove It Up Your Cult Records. The album will be launched on the same day with a show at the 360 Club at Leeds Lending Library as part of #360RAW2, the second in a series of hand-picked events showcasing the best emerging talent in West Yorkshire.
THOUGHTS OF THE OTHERS will be released on download and a limited pressing of 300 transparent double orange vinyl, and follows two hugely acclaimed singles, RPM and LIGHTSWITCH, both of which feature on the album. A new single from the album, WHISPERS, is available to stream now, and a video for the track will follow shortly.
THOUGHTS OF THE OTHERS is not a typical album. It traces a journey - a seemingly tormented journey - through a seemingly tormented mind. Some songs are interspersed with narration; others flow effortlessly into each other. There is no clear indication of whether these narrative thoughts are those of a character invented by Jonny, the lyricist and vocalist, or whether they are a true reflection of his own mind, but the emotions are palpably real. Lyrically, and narratively, we experience by varying degrees desolation, despair, paranoia, fear and isolation; leaving the thunderous riffs, the staggering drums and the skyscraping vocals to provide the joy, the elation, the salvation.
In explanation – a typically oblique, typically literate explanation – of what it may well feel like listening to the album, Jonny offers:
“Imagine you wake up in a room. Alone. Above, the sky has turned purple; the rain cascades and everyone’s eyes glow as if they have become possessed by the truths told. For the first time in forever you’re thinking clearly. A consequence of a welcome isolation. Turning on the stereo to drown out the drone, the room is filled with a gloom-rock encompassed by garage, psychedelia and progressive pasts. Heavy riffs enveloped in fuzz; high octane solos; and the echoing bellows of a melancholic fabulist flood the senses. You’ve entered the realm of Skull’s record. A conceptual soundtrack to revolution with plans to vanquish forever the thoughts of the others.”
As a footnote – an understated yet determined, almost euphoric footnote – Jonny adds, “Remember that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it”.
In their brief existence, SKULL have continued to harness the power and the dark humour they developed with their previously acclaimed band. Everything is released carefully, with consideration and with every fibre of their passion. There are no throwaway moments. Their debut single, RPM, is barely three minutes long but is stuffed to the brim with thundering rhythms, mesmerising guitars and a vocal that, despite its relative restraint, could and probably does strip paint from a distance.
LIGHTSWITCH, the follow up single, reveals a grinding rhythm that develops slowly and stealthily into a fury of lascivious guitars and drums, forever threatening to explode, as befits the song’s theme, into a thunderous climax. Towards the end it eventually does but not before the ebbs and the flows have again been explored, before finishing with a comedown that almost demands the obligatory cigarette.