Like a union between Weezer and Arctic Monkeys but sticking a middle finger up at any expectations that thought might breed, UK band Skellums quickly stir up ears and a greedy appetite with their new EP Clarion Call. A festival of alternative and indie rock ‘n’ roll across four mischievously captivating songs, the what we are assuming debut release from the band, marks the Liverpool quartet out as one potential soaked and new exciting adventure.
There is very little we can tell you about the foursome of Roberts, Watson, Crichton, and Courtney, except that, according to their press release and all forms of info for them , Skellums began because “there was nothing else left to do” and that the band formed their own record label, Rent & Debt Records to bring forth their flavoursome endeavours. Creatively fragrant their songs certainly are too on the evidence of Clarion Call, musically and lyrically where the band weaves tales of the streets, lives, and experiences most can relate to in some moment or form.
The EP opens with the outstanding We Are One, a song bounding in on a flood of gripping riffs and rolling rhythms, all weighty and dramatic, before slipping in to a mellower but no less compelling energy for the entrance of the expression loaded vocals. As the narrative spills word by word, guitars relax into a spicy, almost ska bred gait aligned to a great throaty bassline and crisp beats. Band vocals erupt as the chorus bears down on the passions, their anthemic call matched by the infectious swing of the song at that moment and the great lead vocal delivery. The track just grows and incites further with every passing minute of its magnetic rock ‘n’ roll, ending on a blaze of a finale and creating a storming start to the EP.
The Avenue comes next, an initial shimmer of melodies eventually leading to another catchy stroll around a vocal and lyrical social play. Brass shed rays of melodic sun across the song throughout too, their warmth matched by again great variety to the vocals and the inventive shuffle of flirtatious hooks and sparkling grooves. As its predecessor, the song is a riveting seduction, showing more of the diversity already obvious in the sound and songwriting of the band, whilst spellbinding ears and imagination with a success emulated by the irresistible Monsters right after. As the song gets into its virulent stride, it should be admitted that the thought of ‘if The Monkees had been scousers this is the sound they would have held the world with’ surfaced, both they and Skellums sharing a seemingly instinctive pop ingenuity equipped with great underlying shadows.
Clarion Call is completed by the gentle but open swagger of Growing Old, another song flirting with a ska/reggae seeded canter wrapped in melodic enterprise and unpredictable revelry. Though not quite matching the success of the first three songs, it is a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable end to the EP whilst providing more provocative and mesmeric lyrical theatre.
Over time we will all come to learn and know more about Skellums, though their music does all the talking needed right now, and even if they stay a mystery no one will really care if they keep coming up with the kind of creative fun rippling brilliantly within Clarion Call.
The Clarion Call EP is available from August 10th on Rent & Debt Records.
Upcoming Skellums shows:
Friday 21st August – Zanzibar, Liverpool
Saturday 29th August – Eric’s, Liverpool
Sunday 30th August – The Corner Flag, Sunderland