I’m late to the party on this one, having only recognized Eat Skull by name, rather than by their previous efforts. That being said, III seems like a good place to start for me, as it’s already made me a champion of the work the band are creating. If, like me, you’re new to the band, then come along as I take you on my first journey with the band, which has already been an exceptional trip.
“Space Academy” immediately had me sold on III. It’s got a fuzzy guitar riff that opens up the album, followed by some chanted vocals that dictate to us exactly “how it’s going to be.” My ears recalled bits of a Brit-pop stomper, albeit an extremely louder/scuzzier version. Even as the song trails off into an instrumental guitar dabbling, I still found myself enthralled. “Dead Horses” soon follows, and it doesn’t do anything to dissuade my adoration. For one, the band references taxidermy, my favorite pastime, on multiple occasions, but it’s also got this rolling pop-centric guitar line that lives in the middle of the track, which oddly works in harmony with the discordant accompaniment. I’m psyched to watch these “dead horses decompose with taxidermy eyes.”
Eat Skull do decide to turn things into a different direction on the third track, “How Do I Know When to Say Goodnight,” which seems like a blend of glitch-pop and their ramshackle folk influences. There’s an other-worldly chanting going on in the background that at times can be a tad grating, but otherwise, the experimentation of the group opens your ears to some incredible pop moments. I think the group’s dallying between genres comes to fruition, however, on the most inconspicuous of songs. There’s a heavy coat of bass fuzz atop light guitar playing, yet the vocals have this certain clarity that isn’t present on all the other songs within III. You’ve got to have patience on this number, and I appreciate that, leaving me with my own personal haunting. Another gem you’ll find lurking in the musical madness is “They Burned You.” This jam has its own ghoul, which comes in the way of a looped vocal circling through the foreground and the background. For me, my appreciation comes from the strumming guitar work and the rising and falling of the vocals. It starts off your final leg of the journey that will take you through the joyous “Amnesty Box” and the more exploratory pop of “Catch Em Before They Vanish.”
It’s easy to admit that Eat Skull might not be for everyone’s enjoyment. There’s certain elements that I can see as being inaccessible, especially if you’re one to quickly push through your musical collection. But, if you’ve got the patience for listening, then find yourself peeling back the layers of III; it’ll take you to places you might not go, musically speaking, for the rest of the year, making this a memorable listen time and time again.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/01-Space-Academy.mp3]