Skull Defekts – Peer Amid

Skull Defekts
Peer Amid
Thrill Jockey

There are two lines from two other musical groups that sound nothing like Skull Defekts that I am reminded of when I listen to them. One is by Ed Hammel, better known as Hammel on Trial when he says “Ride the Wild Lightening.” The other is by The Thermals. “Here’s Your Future” seems an apt description for these Scandinavian men and their new, adopted Baltimore Vocalist Dan  Higgs.

I’m really tired at the moment. See, I bought a coffee maker, coffee and sugar. I even bought a coffee cup, but I forgot to buy coffee filters. I didn’t realize this until late in the game on Monday when I bought it. Also, it’s really dry in Albuquerque and I keep waking up with bloody noses. Listening to Peer Amid, again, for like the hundredth time since I acquired it a few weeks ago is a practice of insanity. The album opens with the title track, which is this 8+ minute psyche/new wave/noise/rock jam. It’s all jimbo jangles, with lots of crossing noises and it seems like it’s trying to scratch out important parts of my cerebral cortex. It doesn’t help that THE MAN ON THE MIC himself, Mr. Dan Higgs is, once again rocking the way that only Dan Higgs can. And I mean rocking in a very non-literal, non-linear, non-traditional way. It’s not even being a rock singer what Dan Higgs does. I don’t know what it is. It’s mostly intimidating and scary, but he’s never sounded better. Truly, and I love Lungfish, and the work he did in that band, but Skull Defekts is upbeat and moving.

Second Track: “No More Always” and Higgs is all singing, “Nobody,Nothing, Nowhere, No More” over and over again and the feeble aspects that are barely holding my brain together, mostly against there will agree. Maybe I should just take some peyote, drive out towards Las Cruces and let the final freak out I am pretty sure is coming come on and take me. There’s total, untuned surf rock guitar riffs. Very treble full tones and colors in the guitars totally separate Skull Defekts from every one else. It’s reminiscent of the clean guitar tones on early PJ Harvey albums. The drums are all tribal, filled with lots of rack and floor toms and the cymbals are subdued in the mix, not overpowering everything else and letting the buzzing of the guitar strings fill that space more fully. You don’t hear that very much.

Every now and then these Defekt boys toss in the odd, unlabored, rando sound too that just skates over your mind. Maybe I shouldn’t be listening to this album on the headphones. I mean, that’s the practice I think works best for me and one I have been ignoring for a few weeks. But I was up late last night and didn’t want to disturb the neighbors. But now, it just seems like rather than being transmitted into my inner ear, the music is being expelled from my mind’s eye, that pesky organ I try to ignore so much. It’s a total “what the fuck” kind of existence as I remind myself of this album, to bring you, the dear and faithful readers all the information, once again in personalized, non-sensical and non-informative form. But take my word for it, weird isn’t the adjective, unimaginable is. And yet this music is filled with imagination and determination and precision. Which makes it both feel loose, cutting and precise all at once. You add Dan Higgs to the vocal microphone to spread his other dimensional wisdom and you get one amazing work of art.

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