Skullians - Don't Take It To Heart (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Don't Take It To Heart (2012)


Skullians' debut album Pure indicated a band with a rough and ready approach to punk rock, one which was appealing to listen to with its lack of professionalism and shine. That's not a dig, as it was good to hear something that wasn't overblown with delusions of grandeur: it was dirty punk rock and had no desire to be anything other than that. However, what is obvious from the first notes on the follow up, Don't Take It To Heart, is that there has been some polish applied to the dirt. Fortunately for the band, it's only enough to provide a hazy reflection of oneself rather a pristine gloss that blinds one to the content.

All of the songs here have much more of an impact thanks to better production as well as performances sounding much tighter, and this was something I was not quite expecting when I first played the album. Don't Take It To Heart does manage to embed itself quickly into my own little world with its raucous and energetic street punk approach. One area that has diminished a bit from the first to second album is the bass playing, which lacks the effervescent Rancid-like bounce featured on Pure, but there might be less need for the four strings to be as prominent when the guitars are more upfront and "in your face" on this follow-up.

As before, vocal duties are provided in a variety of styles by the members of the band, and this is probably what makes Skullians stand out. No one would dare to claim that the music is anything new, so it would be easy to lose interest part way through but the vocals help hold it all together. I still prefer the songs with Candice Ryerson singing but each vocalist has his/her own individual merits when featured and duet parts work well too.

Stand out songs would include "Over The Edge," "Next In Line" (a particularly uptempo track on which Ryerson's vocals feature prominently), "Oreo," "Bad News" and "Music Is My Job," all of which form an impressive quintet of songs. At times Don't Take It To Heart is a fine example of crash, bang, wallop punk rock that refuses to slow down and races along at a fair pace; you find yourself holding on for dear life or getting left behind.

Despite the cleaner sound, on the whole Skullians still manage to come across like they're a rollicking good punk rock band, with beer and sweat flowing in equal amounts as they play. Sometimes it's not about being different or offering something new; this gets by through the band's ability to hammer out some decent tunes that have enough about them to get blood pumping and fists shaking in the air. This is what Skullians do well.