Monday, May 4, 2015

REVIEW: Skelocrats - Bella Bella

Skelocrats are a Dublin four-piece who are part of the Popical Island Collective.  They previously released two EPs (and then re-released them as a combined "greatest hits album).  The members all sing, and presumably all contribute songs reflecting their own interests and other music projects.  The result on their new album, Bella Bella, is generous 14-song set of varied pop songs.  How varied?  Well, when suggested influences include Sonny & The Sunsets, Guided By Voices, Ariel Pink, The Magnetic Fields, The Buzzcocks and The Nerves, you know you aren't going to get the same song recycled.

While covering a bit of the old map in terms of style, the songs share  a direct approach, a charmingly shaggy garage pop delivery, and a focus on melody and sunny vibes.  Kicking off with the chugging, woozy, and breathlessly energetic 80s-tinged "Zirconium Heart", and then launching into one of my favorites, "Permanent House Painter", boasting a sing along chorus, you realize that this band isn't going to sit back and plead for your love, they are going to sit on your lap, give you a kiss, and then pull you up to dance.  Then they pour sweetness over your head with "Lyin' Eyes".  Your respite is brief, however, because the next track is the hoedown flavored "Doing the Cuckoo".  The following "Laura Dolan" is a sincerely crooned pop gem.

And so it goes, with infectious pop song following infectious pop song.  Whether it offers dusty Americana ("Big Bad"), Buzzcocks style pop punk ("Tennis Aberration"), pub sing-along rock ("You Can't Be My Doggy Anymore"), or sparkling 80s indie pop ("Amazon Tribe"), this is perfect music to make you feel good on a spring day.  Yeah, Skelocrats aren't a big name, and there is no big PR machine hyping this album, but this is an album you actually will use over and over like that favorite leather jacket.  I suggest that this album is well worth your time and money.  I've included a few personal favorites below, but you can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp and Soundcloud links.

Skelocrats are P. Cooney, B. Murphy-White, and Paddy Hanna.  Bella Bella is out now via Popical Island.

Bandcamp for Bella Bella
Soundcloud for Bella Bella

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