Skullcave’s 3 members Jay Marriott, Liam Young and Steve Turnock have a wealth experience on the Perth music scene, each of them having been a part of numerous acts in recent years (The Novocaines most prominently sticking to mind). Their latest project Skullcave brings to the fore their collective stoner/sludge influences with undertones of other genres such as shoegaze and post rock.
Pursuant to these influences, this EP’s 5 tracks feature heavily distorted guitar work, relentless if simple rhythm work and moderately subdued vocals with all the sensibilities of shoegaze rounding out the mix. Songs such as Acid Tone and Echo Room perhaps best demonstrate this combination of influences and are particularly strong in their soundscapes but for different reasons. The former features verses centred around a punchy guitar phase giving way to much more flowing melodic choruses. The latter has a more relentless stoner quality to it which, in my opinion, represents the more appealing dimension of this band’s sound, or at the very least, the stronger one. Importantly, Young’s vocal delivery serves as a nice common thread between these songs, and indeed, the whole EP.
I think the most important observation I can make about this EP and perhaps, more broadly, this band’s sound is that their synthesising of influences is haphazard. On one hand, elements such as Marriott’s guitar tone and Young’s vocals are perhaps the highlights of Skullcave’s sound. However, in a number of places in this EP, these strengths aren’t well combined, resulting in bland interludes and outros that fade out. These problems, whilst notable, are reasonably minor overall and even if this EP in and of itself isn’t particularly interesting, the sonic direction Skullcave is taking warrants interest in its own right and for that reason I’ll be paying close attention to Skullcave this year.
Review by Wills Pritchard