Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Music - Part 199 - The Skull Defekts

The Skull Defekts – Dances In  Dreams Of The Known Unknown (Thrill Jockey)
7 April 2014

Swedish experimental rockers, The Skull Defekts release their new album. 

This has to be one of the most incredible albums I’ve ever heard, of that there can be no mistake.  Once integral to the Swedish experimental underground, The Skull Defekts have progressed to the forefront of a new age of rock.  There blend of punk, folk ritual and tribal beats is intriguing to say the least, but the sound that is created is something to behold.

Guitars are often distorted and muffled to create a sound that often doesn’t sound like guitars.  The lyrics of Daniel Higgs are bewildering but encapsulating, often clumsy and not fitting into the rhythm they create an essential strand of the Skull Defekts weave.

Sometimes Velvet Underground, sometimes Pixies, they are a breed of their own.  The Fable borders on horror with a driving guitar riff and echoed, synthesized vocals.  The beat driving and driving along creating an internal tension with the wall of sound that emanates.  Bizarrely, also creating a need to move your feet and (maybe) dance, it is truly fascinating.

Dances In Dreams is not only challenging but also incredibly listenable.  Tribal drum beats are a common occurrence as are peculiar bits and bobs of sounds that slot in and out of every track. The screeching guitars in King Of Misinformation sit perfectly beside a monotonous percussion and random electronic sounds.  Echoed vocals and indescribable feedback nestle effortlessly amongst random dubs.

Awaking Dream appears in the middle of the album and begins calmly with subtle keyboard sounds.  It rarely breaks this slow pace and its insertion beautifully gives a break to the intensity of the album.  It builds slowly, but resists the temptation to go beyond.  The vocals are again enthralling. 

Complementing the amazing percussion on The Known Unknown is a remarkable chant which is entirely unforgettable ensuring that the track isn’t forgotten.  Elongated, droning synth sounds underpin a frenetic track and are slightly reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails.  The rising and falling key changes of Venom and restrained vocals accompany more superb percussion with an Eastern sounding guitar riff. 

Slowing down again with the anthemic sounding Little Treasure, breaking pace once more and allowing a time for minor reflection.  The track listing is skilfully assembled as each track sits perfectly next to the other.  The album ends with the mantra like Cyborganization where Burundi beats underpin a hypnotic beat resulting in a momentous climax.

Undoubtedly one of the most inventive albums you will ever hear. If there is any justice, we will be talking constantly about this album in years to come.


Thrill Jockey Records
The Skull Defekts website
The Skull Defekts on Soundcloud

Published on Louder Than War 8/04/14 - here

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