When I noticed that this album was already released in 2009, I phoned our editor-in-chief to check whether perhaps one of his personal CDs hadn't gotten into the box of "To Be Reviewed" material...but no, it was actually sent to him for review!
Which has me pondering for he reason why, since as far as I was able to ascertain (no actual data available, you know) the British Alternative trio wasn't planning on visiting the continent around the time that we received the CD. Also, since BDDFH (which was the band's debut album), the band has had several releases, starting with the March 2010 issued Friends EP, which was followed up by the sophomore full-length Sweet Sour (in February 2012) and Live Brixton (issued in December of last). On top of it all, the CD is defective, showing sound glitches in the last couple of songs! So, what to do with this, eh? You know what? I'll just run you through the history of the band, up and 'til what the debut album meant for the trio...that way, if the band (or its label) ever decides to send us additional material, I'll have at least an update up my sleeve!
The story of this Southampton based band goes back to when Russell Marsden (guitar & lead/ backing vocals) and Matt Hayward (drums) were still at school. The latter was only 12 at the time, and his father would not hear about the young ones playing a gig until he considered them rehearsed enough. Calling themselves Fleeing New York, the band did its first shows in the greater London area, and recorded a couple of demos in their father's shed-studio. In 2008, while at art college in Winchester, Marsden met up with Emma Richardson, and inducted her into the band as additional lead/ backing vocalist and bass player, although she had never touched such an instrument before in her life. The occasional gigs meant the trio still depended on the odd day jobs to make ends meet, but they changed their fortune after starting to organize their own monthly shows at Southhampton's Talking Heads venue, where they hosted artists (including Anna Calvi, Thomas Tantrum and Jim Jones Revue) and kept the headline for themselves.
Band of Skulls was officially "born" in November of 2008, and originally exclusively released its debut album through iTunes on March 6, 2009. The song "I Know What I Am" was chosen as iTunes' free Single Of the Week, and this then prompted the rush-release of the album in physical format through Shangi-La Music on March 20. The track went on to be featured in the soundtrack for TV series Friday Night Lights, Volume 2 (released on May 2010), and also appeared in video game Guitar Hero : Warriors Of Rock. It was played in the first episode of Gossip Girl's 4th season, and further used in Playstation 3 video game MLB 10: The Show, in Degrassi: The Next Generation, in a TV ad for Swatch, in an advert for the 2010 RFA World Cup, in the episode “Lost Girl” of the 1st season of Terriers..and in January 2011 it was used on Australian TV in a commercial for Nissan Micra.
Other songs off the album which made single status were “Blood”, “Fires” and “Death By Diamonds And Pearls”. The latter was used in a commercial for Britain's Next op Model, Cycle 6, and for the end credits of Channel 4 program Pete Versus Life. “Blood” was featured in an episode of TV series True Blood (episode 10 of Season 2), and featured in the first episode of the third season of TV series United States Of Tara. In the charts, only “I Know What I Am” and “Death By Diamonds And Pearls” made it into the UK listings (to positions #116 and #138 respectively) Non-single tracks which made commercial success include the album opening “Light Of The Morning” (was featured in a commercial for the 2011 Ford Mustang V6), “Honest” (used in an episode of the 5th season of TV series Skins), “Impossible” (was used in the end credits of My Soul To Take and in ski movie The Way I See It) and “Patterns” (used in a Swatch ad, for their watch collection New Gents; featured in the soundtrack of the 2010 movie Going the Distance; and in the 16th episode of the 2nd season of TV show Castle).
Thus far for the way the album was received. The songs “Death By Diamonds And Pearls”, “Fires”, “”, and “I Know What I Am” can he listened to in the “music” section at the band's own website (http://) bandofskulls.com (alongside 4 songs off the sophomore album). To my regret, that's only songs with Marsden in the role as lead singer...and that's a pity, because the songs with the female lead vocals (“Honest”, “Patterns”, “” are even more to my taste than the others, in fact, to me they're the highlights of the album! At (www.) myspace.com/bandofskulls, you'll find even more songs off that 2nd album...actually, the complete album is available...but no further songs off the debut!
Nice album, in spite of my initial negativism, but I sure hope the next time we're sent something more recent!