Band Of Skulls
The Ford Mustang was introduced in '65. It was the automaker's most successful launch since the Model A because the car was fast, responsive and looked sharp. The Mustang became a cultural icon.
Keeping a car model compelling and relevant for decades is extremely difficult. Tweaks to major design changes helped - but so did marketing. And that's where Band Of Skulls entered the picture. Their raw-boned song "Light Of The Morning," reminiscent of Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl," was featured in a commercial for the 2011 Mustang V6.
Band Of Skulls were college friends who were originally known as Fleeing New York (even though they started in the U.K.). Following a batch of demos, the band earned the opportunity to record their full-length debut, "Baby Darling Doll Face Honey."
"We spent a year writing and recording the record, some of the songs were a little older, but they all seem to fit," said Russell Marsden. "We worked with producer Ian Davenport and a really creative atmosphere started to happen."
The title was the result of a text message from a band friend to Emma Richardson. It read: "baby darling doll face honey, when am I gonna see you in the big bad city?" Then Matt Hayward half-jokingly suggested it be the album's title. Sure, why not?
The lead single, "I Know What I Am" landed, most notably, on the "Friday Night Lights, Volume 2" soundtrack from the TV drama. A cast-off song, "Friends," found a place on "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" soundtrack. It was also the title track of a '10 EP that contained a studio version, live version and music video of the song. And then "Light Of The Morning" was featured in the Mustang commercial.
Band Of Skulls released a live album, "KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic." KCRW, an Internet Public Radio Station of Santa Monica College, in L.A., streamed indie music in addition to carrying NPR. A SXSW performance and opening slots for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Dead Weather and The Muse kept them busy through the year.
Ian Davenport returned (he guided the group's debut) to produce the '12 release "Sweet Sour," which was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales. "The Devil Takes Care Of His Own" was the lead single.
The album landed in the bottom hundred of the Billboard 200 (#138) but it did much better in the U.K. where it went to #14.
2009 Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
2010 Friends EP
2012 Sweet Sour
KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic
When they crank it up on "Baby Darling Doll Face Honey," Band Of Skulls play raunchy Rock. The slashing guitar chords are used more for emphasis - and dramatic effect - than anything else. "Light Of The Morning," "Bomb" and "Death By Diamonds And Pearls" are the obvious examples. The band's pop sensibilities are most recognizable on "Patterns" where both Marsden and Richardson handle the vocals, and Richardson's turn on "Blood." The pumping "I Know What I Am" is a mutation of The Fixx and Blondie and it's easy to understand why it was picked up by TV (including ESPN) and film ("Whip It"). The ballads are generally good with the set closer, "Cold Fame," being the best.
The demarcation between the Rock songs and the ballads is more pronounced on "Sweet Sour." The airy, acoustic oriented ballad band is led by Richardson while Marsden takes the helm on everything else from mid-tempo grinders, "Wanderlusted" and "The Devil Takes Care Of His Own," to the riff-driven "Lies."
"Hometowns" and "Close To Nowhere" are top shelf ballads but the set's premier track is the uptempo romp "You're Not Pretty But You Got It Going On."