We Were Skeletons - We Were Skeletons (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

We Were Skeletons

We Were Skeletons (2010)


If we really have a "screamo revival" going on the past few years, We Were Skeletons are a key player. Their self-titled sophomore full-length comes loaded with a slickly chaotic, emotional hardcore style tempered and coated with a raw melody, touching upon its influences like Off Minor and Hot Cross somewhere between Cryonics and Fair Trades and Farewells. And it's done well and fresh enough to prevent sounding dated at (and from) any point.

Hell, there are times on this album where it feels WWS are even more riffy than the aforementioned Hot Cross EP, from the nimble guitar work setting up the moments of restraint for "Exposure to Heavy Metal Causes Whatever" (dig those rapid tempo changes) to the drilled stop-starts in "It's Like Science" (excellent, subtle crescendo build in this one) and squiggly noodles of "Kids".

But amongst this dizzying, circling fret flailing is a mix of curtly screamed, anguished dual vocals and just amount the right of spastic energy to the percussion (the intro to "Pudge Paws" hints at the opening drum fill on On the Might of Princes' "The Water vs. the Anchor", something mostly only famous to LIHC aficionados). It's a key approach that prevents We Were Skeletons from feeling wanky or masturbatory, like when the languid melancholy of "Her Stomach Is a Lioness" closes that particular track, or the ripples of cymbals ominously open its follower, "Bruce Willis Was Dead the Whole Time".

The whole thing's capped off with the familiar sonic touch of Dead Air Studios and Will Killingsworth. If you're already acquainted with Killingsworth's work (Ampere, End of a Year), you have a good sense of the warm but callow optics of the sound complementing WWS's methods.

We Were Skeletons is a (pretty) exceptional release, and while they're part of a larger collective finally picking up the slack on a certain sound, the band's truly got their own take on it.

We Were Skeletons