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Skeletons - Money

  by Chris O'Toole

published: 11 / 10 / 2008

Skeletons - Money
Label: Tomlab
Format: CD


Incomprehensible, but occasionally rewarding fifth album from Skeletons which defies easy categorisation and is a delightfully disorientating mess

The fifth album from Skeletons – oft referred to as the Skeletons & the Girl-Faced Boys or the Skeletons & the Kings of All Cities) – 'Money' is billed as a celebration, but instead begins slowly and builds to a crescendo. While the band request listeners rejoice, Skeletons' Matt Mehlan leads his assembled hired guns on a tour of indigenous tribes, forest insects and city bustle – recording the results and including the found sounds into a sort of world-beat funk that defies easy categorisation. While the songs are described by their creators as inspirational, it is often difficult to know which we are heading – creating a delightfully disorientating mess. This time featuring Jon Leland, Tony Lowe, Jason McMahon and Mehlan, the group claim to have recorded the LP in "haunted ballrooms, through wintry nights when the studio was on fire", and it does sound like they believe their own hype in places! Almost deliberately abstract, car horns are given as much space as the artfully composed jangling guitar line and trumpet blasts. Electronic detritus also drifts around as though in outer space, crashing into the main melodies at opportune moments. At times, such as when the jazz splashes are surrounded by something with a little more substance, the results can be intriguing, but equally the record can meander of into the unknown, leaving the listener alienated and, worse, disinterested. Recorded 'live' in the studio, the record does have a loose, languid charm – designed to compel the listener not to take it, or anything too serious, to judge it on its own merits. For this reason, it is impossible to force 'Money' into any sort of context; it is its own beast and is unwilling to play any role for the listener. Only 'Dripper', among the shortest tracks at just over a minute, attempts a pop hook, piquing the interest of the listener, before heading back into the starry gloom of the record. Centrepiecre 'BOOOM! (Money)' starts with a seasick drone, before rumbling bass and crashing drums announce a skewed lift-off. It is one of the most immediately rewarding moments of the album and close to the "magic tricks" Skeletons hope to create with their sounds. This is music for clubs in underground and disused slaughterhouses and abattoirs; unconventional, intoxicating and in places, incomprehensible

Track Listing:-
1 Fill My Pockets Full
2 The Things
3 Ripper (The Pillows)
4 Stepper (Work)
5 Dripper
6 BOOOM! (Money)
7 Unrelentinglessness
8 The Masks
9 Lullaby
10 Eleven (It'll Rain!)

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