by Anand Harsh
How can a band that has been together for less than half a decade, completely retooled their lineup and sound less than two years ago, and only put out two EPs in the last year or so call their debut album a retrospective? Either their relationships with each other are so strained it feels like they’ve been together forever, or the band is putting forth a mature effort worthy of an act waiting to be inducted into some type of hall or other. Cincinnati’s Skeetones are putting out their first, full-length effort Retrospektive, a quality look at the livetronica act’s gig bag of tricks, from house and breaks, to trance and dubstep.
Tracks like “Knockout,” illustrate the production prowess of the act. According to the band—and I’ve ascertained no evidence to the contrary in the live setting—they don’t use any preprogrammed loops in studio or on stage. The spacy, free-flowing dub sound delivers a sonic K.O. No over-production or unnecessary flourishes. Pure dubstep in the minimalist Benga sense of the sound, bringing organic actual reggae feels, like FreQ Nasty. Brings the step back to the days when it was sit in your rasta’d out dorm room pulling on poorly rolled j’s, instead of the hype, mosh pit scene of today, or what 12th Planet might refer to as the “Slipknotification of dubstep.”
“Whomped” and “Techtonics,” and even “Cereal,” to a lesser extent, open with light, airiness; a melodic awareness that’s refreshing, and oftentimes neglected in the contemporary scene. Unlike the former, though, “Cereal,” devolves into the technical, frenetic, and jammy chaos of cuts like “General Sherman” and “Big O.” For any band growing and coming into its own in the Midwest, the sounds and styles of Umphrey’s are undeniable and inevitable. “Linker” contains a very Cummins-esque solo from Tyler Magnarini towards its close.
Guitarist Mike Lees seems comfortable sitting back in the cut on tunes that are more production-heavy, Cole Brokamp compositions, but picks his places (“Victory” comes to mind). Cole’s hermano, drummer Robby Brokamp, lends solid beat support throughout the album, lending all tracks their requisite organic element. One would think David Sweitzer’s bass would be deemed irrelevant, what with half the band on laptops and synths, but his playing is solid, there’s no question.
In anticipation of the album’s release, Skeetones put together a mini-Midwest tour of some of the best clubs in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Following a performance tonight in Athens, OH at Jackie O’s with Shank Bone and The Lorax Tree, the quintet will return to the Queen City tomorrow night (March 26th) for their official record release party at Mad Frog’s. Cincy’s own Freekbass is expected to make an appearance, along with some other surprises. Retrospektive will be available through the band’s website, www.skeetones.com, and online through the usual major retailers.
Skeetones - Retrospektive
The functionality you are trying to use is for members only. Would you like to sign in?