The new album from Skull Tape, The Invisible Hand and The Descent of Man, has been part of my regular listening most of the last month. I'm pretty sure these guys are my Surfer Blood for 2011 - out of left field pop songs that are catchy and I can't stop listening too. I fell in love when Pitchfork posted "Trans Anthro" and, well, you just read those two sentences so you know what happened.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Skull Tape - The Invisible Hand
The 12-track album flies by with a Tripping Daisy meets Parts and Labor fury of broken down Nintendo keyboard sounds, punk fast to psych slow and all in between rhythms with harmonies that often, for lack of a better example, sound like Blink-182 (not always, but enough that the thought crosses my mind several times throughout the album).
All of that adds up to something that fans of Atom and His Package and the three aforementioned bands should be able to agree on. They should agree, of course, that this album is a new obsession. On their Facebook page, Skull Tape claims Sparks, Iron Maiden, The Wipers and YMO as their influences so hopefully my common man explanation doesn't offend them. To be fair, I can hear all those bands too.
Brad Breeck, formerly of The Mae Shi, wrote these songs after that band broke up in between his work on commercials. According to the press release, The Invisible Hand and The Descent of Man was inspired by Breeck's obsession with a host of current events and it carries a loose theme of social darwinism, covering a wide range of issues the country is facing right now. Knowing this adds a whole layer of holy-fucking-shit to the album, which is catchy, personal and feels familiar from the first listen. I've got to say, part of me thinks that's a bunch of BS but, since this is indie rock and not some douche in a suit from EMI, I'll take the PR company and Breeck at their word.
There's enough punk rock on this album that I'm gonna qualify it as punk, and enough noise and jagged rhythms that it qualifies as art rock, the combination of which should bring it pretty close to perfect. Breeck has managed to craft songs just subversive enough that something beyond "here comes the girl" and "friendship is essential for life," themes that permeate many of these songs, might sink in when you're too busy bopping your head to pay attention.
Pre-order The Invisible Hand and The Descent of Man at Amazon.
Also, Skull Tape made a video for their cover of Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair," which is a mash-up with the album track "Drowning In Blood." As you can see here, it's awesome.