ExplodingInSound.com had the pleasure of reviewing the most recent release from Skeleteen "No Fun Intended"...
From under the sunny Los Angeles sun, Skeleteen has created a sound filled with beautiful yet dark storm clouds. Successfully blending the best aspects of both early 90s stoner/doom and shoegaze, this three piece of Kyle Justin (guitar/vocals), Matthew Eilers (bass), and Chase Manhattan (drums) take the slow and sludgy and crank it with spurts of chaos and adrenaline. Not being content with simply shattering eardrums, Skeleteen have donated their musical revenue to many noble causes and organizations including the ASPCA, Midnight Mission, the ACLU, and many others. Don’t be fooled by their good nature though, these guys still bring a thunderous wave of destruction and noise.
Opening track “Bet On Me” starts things off with menacing dark static fuzz that brews with punchy bass lines and thick distortion. Screamed vocals somewhere between the mildly industrial, and early works of Nirvana, pierce through the noise with undeniable angst. Manhattan is Skeleteen’s best kept secret, providing dense drumming that pounds and crushes through the pedal fueled fog, and quiet intricate cymbal work. They prove that grunge and shoegaze weren’t enemies, but rather coexist on a powerful level when mixed together. The thunderous drum rolls lead the path of aggression before the feedback begins to dip in and out with repeated surprise attacks. “Gone” features more phenomenal drum work, with bursts of energy stomping with the stylistic approach of Autolux or …Trail of Dead’s rhythm section. Not to be out done, the guitars surge on “set to stun” mode with jangling melody lurking just below the wall of distortion. The vocals drift back and forth throughout the atmospheric waves buried slightly underneath the mix, serving as just another addition to the complete musical landscape in pure shoegaze fashion.
“Not This Time” manages to be both sludgy and catchy simultaneously, largely due to Eilers’ bass bouncing in Pixies-esque fashion while Justin’s vocal melody wails and shimmers. The stop start fuzz explosions create gorgeous dynamics from quiet to loud, and the shifting rhythms further accent their gift to change time with bombastic drum fills and riding grooves. “Little Glimpse” is… well… a little glimpse of what they have to offer the shoegaze world. This is the atmospheric drift fans of My Bloody Valentine hold near and dear, and while the song is under two minutes in length, it shows that Skeleteen are very capable of carrying on the torch of their legacy.
The buzzing hum of “No Fun Intended” kicks off the monolithic pace of their druggy, psychedelic opus. With slow crushing drums that would make Sleep proud, quick blasts of energy come and go, leaving a quiet vocal melody before storming back in with full doom inspired wall of sound intensity. “Overcome” gets the engines back revving with its buzz saw feedback, glimmering harmonics, and trickling cymbals creeping through the intro. Skeleteen quickly rock into a fury before things quiet back down to whispered vocals that lift and rise with the wavering haunting intensity. Over the course of these six songs, they are able to show potential in various beloved genres, with the talent to conquer them all.