Sweet Sour

Mainstream music mostly sucks, but this is a 50% exception.

1st March 2012

I realised the other day just how few blogs I post about music.

This is because modern music is shit.

Now, I'm not trying to be some anti-mainstream hipster or anything, but it's true - the vast majority of music that gets any kind of airplay these days is bloody awful; it's all some kind of clubbed-up generic auto-tuned tat. Most of it is derived from rap music, which is horrific enough in itself, but even people who enjoy hip-hop must be distraught at what has become to their once respected genre of music (I mean, does Dappy really strike fear into the heart of middle-class white parents as much as someone like 50 Cent?).

However, contrary to what I just said, there seems to be a shift of balance from this pop/rap/balls to light rock bands in the charts. It's a new wave of Indie, but not quite so irritating. The Black Keys, for example, after 9 years of relative obscurity in the UK, hit it big with their release of El Camino and in particular the single Lonely Boy at the end of last year, and other alternative artists such as Gotye and Band of Skulls have brought some semblance of decent music back to life.

Let's focus on Band of Skulls and their new album Sweet Sour.

The lead single The Devil Takes Care of His Own clearly takes a lot of inspiration from the early days of grunge and combining it with some good, old-fashioned rock. It's got a great, pounding chorus with brilliant work on the drums by Matt Hayward. This is mirrored in the album's titular track, and it makes for some good, easy listening.

Not all of the tracks are as heavy, though, and these songs vary in quality. Wanderluster is a brilliant mid-tempo piece, but it's followed by the average, repetitive and slightly boring Navigate. Bruises and Lay My Head Down also exhibit the same problems, but not as badly as Hometowns, which is, by far, the lowest point on the album.

One of the album's highlights is You Ain't Pretty, But You Got It Going On which returns to the more uptempo beat of the band's better songs, and displays the band's songwriting ability - which prevails over technical playing - with a pretty good breakdown/solo about halfway through.

All in all, it's a 50-50 split between good, rocky songs and slow, boring songs. Sweet Sour is a very apt name indeed. It's not perfect, but it's a step in the right direction from the Southampton outfit, and when it's good, it's very good.