Newest Review: ... day. The trio produced a great sound when they got going, and belted out 5 or 6 really enjoyable tracks from their album. My friend and... more
Empty-headed rockers? Or bopping brain-boxes?
Baby Darling Doll Face Honey - Band of Skulls
Member Name: DonPaolo
Baby Darling Doll Face Honey - Band of Skulls
Advantages: Several great tracks, packed with raw riffs and sounds, lots of orginal and exciting ideas
Disadvantages: Some songs get their ideas a little confused and don't quite work
"Baby Darling Dollface Honey" is the debut album by Band of Skulls, a 3-piece alternative rock band from Southampton, England. The album was released in 2009...
--- My Introduction to 'Band of Skulls' ---
In summer 2010 I went to see one of my all-time favourite bands, Muse, live at Old Trafford Cricket Stadium in Manchester. On the day, their main support act was "Editors", along with 2 bands I hadn't heard of before; "Band of Skulls" and "Pulled Apart by Horses". My friend and I weren't massive fans of Editors, but we decided to get to the stadium a little earlier and check out the other groups anyway.
Because of traffic, queues, and a pit-stop at the bar, we got to the stage as "Pulled Apart by Horses" were finishing - such a shame! After a bit of an intermission, 3 little characters walked out on to the huge stage ("Band of Skulls"), on a bright but rather windy day and began to set up. They looked a bit lost on the towering stage, which was predictably glam and ornate, ready for the musical, dramatic and pyrotechnic spectacular of Muse that was to follow, but they still made a great impression on me that day.
The trio produced a great sound when they got going, and belted out 5 or 6 really enjoyable tracks from their album. My friend and I were definitely pleasantly surprised - we only had eyes for Muse at the start of the day, but it was a great bonus to get introduced to a new and exciting band into the bargain. We both bought the album the following week...
--- Impressions of the Album ---
I'm not a fan of throwing meaningless labels at bands, but 'Garage Rock' is probably the best fit here. The album is energetic and quite rough, with some bluesy touches, and you can see the signs of a very diverse range of influences.
The lead vocals on the album are share relatively equally between the male lead guitarist and the female bass player, and there is a great interplay and contrast there. I would describe the sound as rough and raw, and while it's not quite on a White Stripes scale, there are some great rasping dirty guitar riffs to be had here. The bass and thumping drums combine to make a powerful rhythm section which drives most tracks along well.
There are 5 or 6 great songs on the album and most of the others, while leaving a little to be desired, still offer some interesting ideas and are worth a listen. If anything, the album is a little too 'front-loaded', with the 1st half containing the majority of the strong tracks, and the 2nd half being a little more hit and miss.
--- Highlights and Favourite Tracks ---
- "Light of the Morning"
On first listen at the gig, the opening track ("Light of the Morning") confused me. The introduction is disjointed, the first beats of the drum seem off time, and I found it difficult to get my head around the rhythm of the song. However, as the 2nd verse kicked in, and the drum beat started properly, all was revealed and it suddenly made sense! There is an unusual groove to the song which is really infectious - the only problem is that it's over far too quickly!
- "Death By Diamonds and Pearls"
"Death By Diamonds and Pearls" has a stomping beat and a big sound, with the vocals led by the lead guitarist. The song then hits you with a squealing guitar solo which comes out of nowhere and really takes you by surprise. It actually turns out to be brilliant and caps the track of nicely.
- "I Know What I Am"
The vocal talents combine and share the limelight on "I Know What I Am". This is one of the quicker, more upbeat songs on the album, featuring some really catchy hooks and quick fire lyrics.
For me, "Patterns" is probably the stand-out track of the whole album. This time the vocals are led by the female bassist, and along with the rough-around-the-edges guitar playing, this produces their most catchy and appealing song. I understand it has been used in the soundtrack to a Gran Turismo game too - well done!
--- Overall Verdict ---
All things considered, "Baby Darling Dollface Honey" is an exciting debut from a band which clearly has plenty of talent and some strong original ideas. It's been quite a long time since I bought such an accomplished album from a brand new band, and it's still one that I play regularly.
I really think 3.5 stars would be the best rating here, but I have erred on the side of praise with this being a promising début album. There are many more established bands who can have praise heaped upon them for turning out an album with 3 or 4 good singles sandwiched between mediocre filler, so I think Band of Skulls deserve some credit for providing a slightly different sound, some great original tracks, and overall for grabbing my attention.
Summary: A very exciting debut album from a potentially great band!