Host Skull: Totally Fatalist

Totally Fatalist

(Host Skull)
Release Date: 
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Since the band is split between Pittsburgh and Sante Fe, this obstacle has provided the chance for Host Skull to double. Instead of one band, Host Skull will consist of two bands that operate in different cities

Its hard to say where Indie outfit Host Skull is coming from. On one hand the band has a solid funky horn section that mixes well with the duo’s vocal department which is both a bit shaky as well as smooth, in their own unique way. Meanwhile, tossed into the mix, the band has strange sounding synths, hippie like lyrics backed by a soft acoustic guitar sound, and a wonderfully deep bass groove. Its just an odd sounding conglomeration of instruments that somehow manage to mesh together and provide the listener with a quirky unique style of music that retains an edge while allowing just enough leeway that listeners wont become alienated.

The first track off the album, Totally Fatalist, had me guessing that Skull Host were a ska band, what with the horn intro. When the intro break ends the weirdness begins. A repetitive core is clouded with loose drums, that deep bass groove, and a vocal delivery that sounds off but really isn’t. Its strange, but it works. Up next is Radio Swan which has a fantastic guitar intro followed by a repetitive but infectious drum path that will have you tapping your toe and nodding your head. All that’s strange is still there but, again, it somehow manages to work. Then the album hits an interlude entitled Host Skull. I think this is supposed to represent a break in the delivery of the band music.

Track four, In Hell, is a bit more focused then the first couple of tracks. I’d like to say that any repetitive qualities from the first couple of tracks are gone but the bass and drums in this song are a bit, meh. Track 5, You’ve Been Grown Up, really starts to reveal the fact that the guitars on the album seem to be the only real steadfast element to the duo’s collaboration and because of it this particular track really comes together well. Vocals are calmer and more harmonized, bass more subtle to allow the guitars their chance to really be heard, and horns are also more relaxed and ambient.

I start to get this real Shivers vibe with track 8, Nothing At All, which is a retro bluesy number that could have fallen off of The Shivers last release. Then you have Rat Bones, track 9, which is reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins with enough of Host Skull’s left over to remind you its not. By the end of the album I wasn’t sure if I loved it or liked it. Most definitely its something new and interesting but does it work? If I had a gun to my head I’d probably say that it does. Since I don’t I’m going to have to insist that over time the album will keep opening up to me and revealing new things making me grow from like status to possibly love. Time will tell. As always final judgment is yours. Enjoy.

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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