Whether sound was ever meant to be infused with words to begin with is a not for me to say, though it’s safe to say that such a proposition, as a casual conversation killer and especially as some sap’s needlessly dense dissertation, is a useless one. Lyrics go together with music like high school sweethearts that grow old and fat together. Like their human counterparts, they leave a stinging affect on the lonelier ones. Music that is pure instrumentation is not without plenty, but it has a tendency to overcompensate, creating concise categories of itself to meet concise satisfaction, risking its ability to illicit considerable beauty. Much of the standard categories are simple. Some instrumental music is beat-laden for the sake of inspiring rhythm and, to some extent, fucking. Some music is less structured for the sake of shoring up an atmosphere or state of mind that can be ethereal on one end; disorienting and deafening on the other. Other music is simply quirky or otherwise freeform and void of any easy direction. This music exists mostly at the behest of vocalized bands who sometimes forego vocals, or jam bands. Sometimes, though, there are those other bands in this category that are purely instrumental but neither accessible nor decidedly atmospheric. Skeletonbreath opens the door for us to this very odd sound.
Skeletonbreath at first blush is an effective irritant for anyone with a long untouched equilibrium. Most people, I don’t believe, are altogether accustomed to the minmalist orchestral clashing of a violin against a bass. That is the crux of what Eagle’s Nest, Devil’s Cave is all about. This is not to say that this is a heap of noise, quite the contrary. Those who comprise Skeletonbreath are agile musicians who write and recite actual compositions complete with structure and melody. Opening track “Dick Tracy” starts off with atonal tinkering before the bass sets a founding rhythm and the song takes off, and this is the common dynamic of most of the songs. Songs have a fluid progression. Signatures change, but not with immediate urgency for the most part. Harmonies are occasionally uplifted by horn sections that come into the background. Songs like “Llarimo” and “Texarcana” are well thought out pieces of melody with great cohesion and no excess. There are some parts of their songs that qualify as noise, and the band would prefer to play up that aspect to whatever extent they can, and there is an aggression about them. The often conducting violin and bass can sometimes be revved up into a tantrum or even a frenzy by the pounding style of drumming they employ, the best example being “Taxidermist Convention.”
Skeletonbreath has a desire for calamity if not full-on chaos, this much is evident. But it seems at this point that they are flirting with calamity more than anything. The band like to describe themselves as a “Halloween party band,” which is a perfect summary of their sound, just not in the way they are likely to be thinking. Halloween is a celebration deeply rooted in the culture of the Celts in which they, in a fashion typical for those who would become the Irish, Welsh and Scottish, would honor as well as fear the spirits of their ancestors who may or may not be able to walk the earth during Samhain. Halloween parties are romps with beer and costumes both unrepentantly whorish and shabbily conceived, where attendees jettison all manners and politeness to fuck shit up, like any other holiday really. There’s nothing scary about Halloween parties and so logically there is nothing scary about Skeletonbreath.
Guapo – Elixirs
Crime In Choir – Gift Givers
Zombi – Spirit Animal