Skeleton Coast's Debut Is Hard To Define, But Easy To Enjoy.
It's been a little over two years since we first remember Skeleton Coast's name cropping up on a local bill.
It was a memorable early offering, too: Despite some technical issues that night, Steve Watkins' review in the Star-Telegram the next day marveled more at the sounds being created than the fact that he'd just watched an entire concert performed in a hair salon.
While the band hasn't totally ditched their DIY ethos in the years since, they have grown from an outfit used to playing in unconventional spots on often mismatched bills to a well-rounded, ethereal power — a group finally beginning to call their own shots.
Better yet, Skeleton Coast's oft-hard-to-define sound has afforded the band the opportunity to open for a diverse list of acts and appeal to a wide swath of North Texas music fans over the course of their ascent. The band has played with everyone from Das Rascist and Stardeath & White Dwarfs to the Hanna Barbarians and the Burning Hotels, showcasing well the genre-defying sound finally captured on their first full-length LP, which was released over the weekend and celebrated with a performance at Fort Worth's Live Oak Music Hall.
It's largely this hard-to-pin-down characteristic that makes Skeleton Coast so appealing. Their self-titled debut, produced by Jordan Richardson (who now splits time between Fort Worth and Los Angeles, serving as drummer for both Epic Ruins and Ben Harper, respectively), elements of garage rock, dreampop, shoegaze find their way into the band's sound — and all at once fairly often.
Much of the self-titled effort is filtered through a lens of leftover '60s psychedelia, refreshed through prominent usage of modern electronics. At times, like the last third of the ten-minute, untitled album closer, all of these elements work together seamlessly; an endless layer of tones, atmospheres, and melodies blend together and bury themselves beneath a soaring guitar that wouldn't be out of place filling out the massive open space of an arena.
The overall effect is absolutely enormous.
Standout track “Young” finds a middle ground between the trippy prog-rock found on The Dark Side of the Moon and the neo-psychedlia of contemporary Pink Floyd devotees The Flaming Lips, while broaching an optimistic, cocksure territory rarely approached by either of those touchstones. Simultaneously experimental, engaging and approachable, Skeleton Coast have hit upon a sound that's fit for both dancing and mellowing out — depending on one's mood.
While that's admittedly a hard concept to wrap one's head around, it's also just another part of that indefinable quality that makes Skeleton Coast's debut so enjoyable.
Check it out in its entirety below.
Image via Skeleton Coast's Facebook page.