Crystal Skulls - Blocked Numbers (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Crystal Skulls

Blocked Numbers (2005)

Suicide Squeeze

It's got an undeniable lounge feel to it. Smooth and poppy. You know, like Sea And Cake. But unlike the Sea And Cake, this release by Crystal Skulls has a 70's pop feel to it. Lush, spacious melodies trade off between two guitars, the sometimes keyboard, and bass with smooth vocals overlaying it all. The drums are my favorite part. They're simple pop drums with that laid back groove that you don't hear in melodic indie bands often. So it was a little bit surprising when I checked the liner notes and saw that it was none other than Casey Foubert on the drums. And who else was in the band but Yuuki Matthews! It seems that half of the now-defunct Seldom (and the sometimes drummer for Pedro The Lion) is playing in Crystal Skulls. Why didn't anyone tell me?

But unlike Seldom, Christian Wargo is the premier singer and songwriter for Crystal Skulls, whereas Seldom had Yuuki as the main songwriter, which was the one thing I couldn't get over about Seldom: the songwriting. At times, it was just really weak, especially lyrically. Musically, the band was doing something I had never heard before, and elements of that definitely show through in Crystal Skulls. Oh, the other guy in the band is Ryan Phillips. The name sounds familiar, but I can't place him and neither can

With that clarified, my view on this band shifted. In terms of comparison, this band reminds me a lot more of Seldom than the Sea And Cake. But I'm babbling on about a defunct band that most of you don't care about. Regardless, Crystal Skulls have a supremely sublime pop style that is both exciting and fun, like the thinking man's pop (and no, I'm not referring to Mingus Dew), and it's no surprise that this band is getting lots of hype. It's a flawless release with hard-hitting melody and harmony. From beginning to end, it's a solid piece of awesomeness, from the upbeat, head-bobbing opener "Airport Motels" to the slower and lazy afternoon feeling of "Away From Home," which closes the album 31 minutes and 20 seconds later.

Airport Motels
No Room For Change