Son of Skooshny: Lovers Leap of Faith

If the name Son of Skooshny seems familiar that is from the fact the band is a kind of offshoot of seventies band Skooshny. A recording band only and consisting of founders Mark Breyer (vocals, guitar), Bruce Wagner (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and soon after its beginnings drummer David Winogrond, Skooshny released a four track EP in 1978 followed by a single the following year. Both received great acclaim but also low sales due to primarily the band never playing live shows. More releases followed but eventually the band broke up.  Then in 1991 the band was alerted to the fact their releases were collector items around Europe. Eventually with Bill Forsyth of newly formed Minus Zero Records further copies of those records plus a compilation of unreleased material came out to great acclaim and strong sales. The band reformed and produced a new EP Even My Eyes and album, Water, with a compilation of their psych-folk-pop called Zoloto following, its tracks covering the band from 1976 to 2003.

Step forward to 2010 and Son of Skooshny with Lovers Leap of Faith. The album is not a brand new release admittedly but as in fitting with the history of its seed band it has slipped by people too easily and that cannot be allowed. Son of Skooshny is the project of Mark Breyer thus the background to Skooshny above. Here he has teamed up with long time collaborator Jeff Peters plus producer-collaborators Steve Refling, Arthur Schlenger, and Andy Colquhoun, as well as assorted friends. Lovers Leap of Faith contains covers of a few Skooshny songs plus new material and is a vibrant and pleasing collection of guitar pop and sixties teased/seventies spiced melodic rock songs.

The album opens on immediate favourite Another Time, a hypnotic fresh electrified feast for the ear. Melodically mesmeric and energetically raw it has an anthemic quality that reminds of seventies UK band The Only Ones. The melodic punk vein that throbs throughout is also Buzzcocks like and brings an intelligent urgency and craft to the song, whilst the vocals of Breyer here and in other parts of the album a mix of Pete Shelley and Peter Perrett.

Candy Air follows with a more restrained energy but a no less melodically enchanting breath. With a slight southern lilt the song caresses the ear with a delicate but firm display of imagination and thought, and openly shows the varied sounds that lie within the album. This is easily confirmed by the dusty rock sounds of Bare Bones a song which grows in stature the more you hear it.

     Lovers Leap of Faith does not always hit the same heights in every song though it is more down to personal tastes than quality of sound or songwriting, but when the likes of The Right Idea and You Can’t Leave Me fail to ignite the biggest fires tracks such as the excellent Science Changes Everyone with its full heart and imagination, Kate’s Green Phone a darkened Bolanesque song of psyched shadows and infectious punk pop insanity, and the insatiably melodic Love’s Not Impossible, more than cover their backs. All songs leave one enthused and bristling for much more, the second of the three the best song on the album and the engineer of wishes one had come across the musicians long before now.

Lovers Leap of Faith is a fine album that shows melodic pop does not have to be obvious, unoriginal, or sterile. The album also shows how easy it is for great bands to be missed by the masses no matter their ability and creativity. The former guise of one of its members may have been one of those bands but hopefully that will not be the case with Son of Skooshny, now is the time to make sure.

RingMaster 21/05/2012

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Kraanium: Post Mortal Coital Fixation

Post Mortal Coital Fixation is the third album from slam death metal band Kraanium and a festering bruise of corruptive violation and brain numbing intensity. Raw, barbaric, and perpetually intrusive the album marks a return to form for the Norwegian band and a great infestation upon the world before their US tour in June with Atrocious Abnormality and Coathanger Abortion.

Post Mortal Coital Fixation released via Comatose Music follows previous albums Ten Acts of Sickening Perversity and The Art of Female Sodomy. The Oslo quintet of vocalist Martin Funderud, guitarists Vidar Ermesjø and Mats Funderud, bassist Ian Slemming, and Mitch Rider on drums, take no prisoners nor do they have any qualms about trampling upon and abusing the senses and sensibility from song titles and lyrics though to the pillaging riffs and bile soaked intense sounds. It is not an easy experience for the ear but what violent pit borne and destructive intrusion is.

Staggering in on towering riffs and ruptured rhythms the album opens up the ear with brief intro track Post Mortal Fixation before flaring up with the brutal might of Stillborn Neurotic Fuck Feast. The track paces and tests limits with its flesh stripping riffs and the porcine guttering of frontman Funderud. Heavy, stripped down, and laying waste to the senses the track shows the band back to their formidable best after for many an arguably less than satisfactory second album.

The album is not openly adventurous nor the bringer of great diversity within its muscular hide but with infectious intestines of grooves and disengaged caustic melodies the release does not fall deeply into over whelming similarity either. The likes of Bursting Rectal Sores, the consumption of light that is Crack Whore Pounding, and the hypnotic and malicious Coprophagial Asphyxiation and one of the rare times bassist Slemming is plainly heard, all seek and fill every corner of the senses and thought with vile yet mesmeric vehemence.

As further tracks like the excellent Slammed Kranial Remains and Baptized in Boiling Sewage with its acidic grooved putrescent crawl consume, the album sucks the last essences of life from the senses, leaving dried up husks of depleted feelings and emotions. Post Mortal Coital Fixation is not for the faint hearted or for those needing warmth to their music. It is a plodding inhuman aural savagery that is as primitive and cruel as the hell it is inspired by, it is also in its sadistic way quite contagious and an overall rewarding malefaction.

Also including a cover of the Abominable Putridity song Entrails Full of Vermin, the album is a release to fire up all lovers of death metal, metal core and of course slam death. It is unlikely to make the majority of lists of 2012 top albums but it more than satisfies the needs of extreme metal fans as well as declaring Kraanium back on course.

RingMaster 21/05/2012

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