Music industry fact: The farther removed you go from inherent musical expectations; the more people start talking. That should usher in a bevy of conversation surrounding Skeletons In The Piano and their commitment to their eclectic approach to their sound. Eerie and psychedelic-tinged, their moniker of “haunted hard rockers” is apt as evidenced on their latest release, Please Don’t Die. The eight-track album highlights the band’s myriad influences ranging from Old World sentiment to Blues and Rock. The musical journey that ensues is edgy, dark and damn exciting.
“The Blood Beyond” opens the album and plods along through the initial verse work with slight bent-note Blues guitar and Eli Hargrave channeling Morrison. But as the intermittent horn blasts and backing instrumentation carries the track, you get the feeling it’s building toward something. That something occurs with a full aural assault, as the track becomes a heavy agro track in both the static-y electric and Hargrave eschewing Morrison melody for Lane Staley-esque screams. “Disposable Televisions, Disposable Guns” again opens to solo Blues guitar notes and slight backing percussion. Unplugged plucks and electric wail join the cacophony before rasp vocals take the track helm. The dark air appears on this one continuing the eerie ethos of the album. The heaviness again joins as the demeanor of the track changes from down tempo to rocker. “Loose Kites in Harbor” features a bouncing opening bass line and intricate drum fill work and assumes the role of up tempo from the get go as the vocal wail and agro guitar join the fold through the time change before the guitar explosion solo at the midpoint. “Memory Lane Needs A Garbage Man” opens to chug guitar, Wurlitzer style organ and tin can vocal delivery. This one also blasts out of the gate and reveals the clever lyrical matter to match the equally inventive title selection. Hargrave again channels Staley near effortlessly, considering the unique voice and range that was the late Alice In Chains singer. More electric ushers this one through to the track finality.
Admission: This review is completely biased in that I really think this is a breath of fresh air. Is that strange to say in regards to the dark ethos of the album? Maybe. But Skeletons In The Piano is unapologetically awesome and I appreciate their commitment to originality and their sound. The musicality is tight but all over the place and each track is a surprise in that you can never exactly pin down where any given track is going to take you. Musically diverse as they come… this one will have people talking.
I give this 4/5 Skopes