Some Skeletons may have only formed in 2011, but they’ve already had a quite remarkable – and shocking – grounding. Not only have the Nottingham-based trio released two well-received EPs, they’ve also have faced group upheaval while drummer James Housley survived a serious, life-threatening car accident after getting run off the road on his bike.
Of course, these experiences colour ‘Vigils’, the group’s debut full-length. There’s still a rawness to the group’s sound that recalls early Idlewild or the angularity of Biffy Clyro, but there’s also a fragility and delicateness that dulls the edges, making ‘Vigils’ a strong, smart listen.
There’s also some really gorgeous vocal interplay running throughout, elevating Some Skeletons’ sound to a different level to many of their peers. Songs such as the excellent ‘To Exceed, To Achieve’ may have their roots in ‘90s alt-rock, but this intelligent use of harmony and gang vocals make for a constantly engaging listen. It’s a style Some Skeletons fall back on frequently and to great effect.
‘Vigils’ is packed with similarly charged cuts too, meaning Some Skeletons are no one-trick wonders. ‘Beach Party’ is a crunching, muscular riff-rest that is a glorious mid-point to the album, while the more sedate ‘Ex-Sceptics’ showcases a certain delicacy, adding gorgeous layers of light and dark to their serrated sound.
A concept album of sorts, loosely inspired by Neville Shute’s ‘On The Beach’, there’s also a brave ambition to Some Skeletons’ ideas, and even if this means ‘Vigils’ is somewhat testing lyrically (especially without a lyric sheet to hand), it still possesses a boldness that should be applauded.
Overall, ‘Vigils’ is an enjoyably strong debut full-length from a British group that are well worth keeping your eyes and ears trained on.
’Vigils’ by Some Skeletons is out now on Mountains of Records.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)