Review by Julie Knispel
What do you get when you mix bass playing with occasional Zeuhl-ish tone, wildly expressive violin playing, and punk drumming? If you fueled the whole mixture with exceedingly large amounts of volume, and seasoned liberally with beer, and were very, very lucky, you just might come up with Rochester NY’s Skeletonbreath. Skeletonbreath is a trio that fuses jazz, prog, punk, and klezmer style music to create something just slightly lighter than a band like Alamaailman Vasarat (perhaps the only possible comparison in terms of genre and general sound). Variously described as “Halloween party music” (the band’s description) and “Transylvanian surf music” (Wikipedia), the band has built a devoted following on the basis of their energetic, and above all loud, live show. As a completely instrumental band, and a trio at that, Skeletonbreath could easily fall into a trap of offering up an album filled with a dozen same-sounding tracks. While they do have an intentionally limited sonic palate to work from, the results are enjoyable and interesting. The band tries hard to offer up something different with each track, whether it’s a weird middle section with melodic percussion, or plucked violin, or slide bass. The music is energetic and fun, and nearly compels the listener to get up, jumping and dancing to it. While louise is a debut release, it doesn’t really sound like it, instead feeling more like the work of a seasoned group of veteran musicians confident in their ability to deliver. A very brief 39 minutes long, the album nonetheless feels just right, leaving the listener wanting more.
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.