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Skull Defekts - Dances in Dreams of the Known Unknown

  by Richard Lewis

published: 7 / 5 / 2014



Skull Defekts - Dances in Dreams of the Known Unknown
Label: Thrill Jockey
Format: CD

intro

Underwhelming latest album from Swedish psychedelic/drone outfit, the Skull Defekts


Echoing Dastardly Donald Rumsfeld’s notoriously bonkers 2002 statement on WMDs ("...There are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know") instrumental Swedish drone rock unit The Skull Defekts have issued almost a decade’s worth of psych-maximalism, working their way towards a metallic variation of the form. Fronted by Daniel Higgs, frontman of US hardcore legends Lungfish, ostensibly as a guest on lyrics and vocals, the ‘Defekts are signed to the estimable Thrill Jockey records, home to far-frontier psych explorers White Hills and sonic sandblasters Wooden Shjips. Despite the album’s excellent provenance, things don’t start in particularly promising fashion however, as underwhelming opener ‘Pattern of Thoughts’ and ‘The Fable’, third are powered by the kind of skewed riffs Sonic Youth could have knocked off in an afternoon practice session. ‘King of Misinformation’ with its dentist’s drill feedback effect evokes early 1980s post-punk innovators Killing Joke and, while the ‘Defekts can match the thudding tribal drumbeats and cyclical guitar riffs of the UK act, the band miss the seething, gritted-teeth delivery that the Joke’s best material possessed. With much of ‘Dances in Dreams...’ progressing at the mid-paced chug almost throughout, you occasionally wish the band would cut loose and crank the tempos up to provide some variation. Where the group stretch out into more pastures, such as on ‘Awaking Dream’, the LP’s most expansive cut, Higgs’s vocals draped with dystopian sounding synths, the experimentation lifts the album up a level. (Almost) title track ‘The Known Unknown’ meanwhile is the most successful plaiting of Higgs’s lyrics with the ‘Defekts propulsive backing, with ‘Little Treasure’, a compelling mixture of doom metal, percussive psychedelic undertow and close-miked whisper following close behind Seven minute closer ‘Cyborganisation’ seemingly strives to ignite the same kind of demonic possessed dancing as Dead Skeletons’ near-legendary ‘Dead Mantra’ yet falls short of mesmeric, instead landing somewhere nearer tepid. Whilst described as the band’s most accessible affair to date according to the press release, moving away from the band’s initial noise music incarnation, the Defekts’ psych rock reminds largely earthbound for the time being.



Track Listing:-
1 Pattern of Thoughts (feat. Daniel
2 It Started with the Light (feat. Dan
3 The Fable (feat. Daniel Higgs)
4 King of Misinformation (feat. Dan
5 Awaking Dream (feat. Daniel Higg
6 The Known Unknown (feat. Daniel
7 Venom (feat. Daniel Higgs)
8 Little Treasure (feat. Daniel Higgs
9 Cyborganization (feat. Daniel Hig


Band Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/pages/THE-SKULL-DEFEKTS/56064901852
http://www.skulldfx.com/


Label Links:-
http://www.thrilljockey.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ThrillJockey
https://twitter.com/thrilljockey



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