SKULLS, THE: The Golden Age of Piracy: CD

The Skulls continue to impress. The sound on The Golden Age of Piracy is meatier and fuller than their stellar Therapy for the Shy, and instead of sounding more pro, they just sound bigger, punchier, and continue to slash through song after song. Still firmly planted in the spastic energy of early LA punk that infused the Dils, Gears, and Weirdos, they’re not afraid to get better and more comfortable at what they do. I admire their ability to play the shit out of a song, fuck around with tempos, set moods, whip out short flashes of tasteful playing ability, and still not lose sight of making bare bones punk rock songs that you’ll be humming for days on end. Let’s not complicate matters. The Skulls playing is like a mousetrap. They know how to set it all up, bait it, and cock it with few wasted movements. Once sprung, their songs snap right into place. Job done. Surprisingly, however, is the fact that my favorite songs on this album are the slow burners. “Monet,” “Black Day,” and “Jerry #5” sound like long-lost archetypes to non-ass punk power ballads. Instead of merely meandering in the hopes of roping in some pussy (as per heavy metal formula), they all sound like quieter trips down dark allies filled with broken bottles, exposed syringes, and bruised dreams.

 –todd (Dr. Strange)