25 Jun 2024

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

SkeletonCrew - Album Review: It's Better I Don't Know

13 Apr 2020 // A review by tomashman
SkeletonCrew are a fairly new arrival on the NZ music scene but they’re already off to a flying start with their debut album It’s Better I Don’t Know released on the 10th of April. SkeletonCrew is a partnership between Felix Danilo and Nicole Obren, both from Northland. They share all the song writing on the new album with Felix providing the music and Nicole delivering the lyrics and vocals.

It’s Better I Don’t Know
is a genre bending album drawing on a range of influences from alternative and pop to electronic and even a hint of jazz. There is a laid back feel throughout the record, yet this is tempered perfectly with the intricacy of the music and the lyrical subject matter, making the whole audio experience well rounded and effortlessly interesting.

The album kicks off with the sound of a tape deck and some background noise before an interlude of jazzy guitar chords launches seamlessly into the flagship single Stay. The use of sound effects is a subtle but important part of the production on this album and it adds a lot of texture to the tracks.

Stay falls in to rhythm with some reverb dappled guitar and simple percussion. The vocal line swims over the surface and there is a distinct jazz-standard vibe brought up to date by the modern production and groove. The fuzzed out guitar solo is a nice touch as are many of the surprising added musical motifs that betray an underlying complexity to this seemingly mellow track.

The next song Her features some fantastic lyric writing from Nicole as well as Felix’s hypnotic repeated guitar riffs. This track is reminiscent of Black Sabbath in their quieter moments. There is a brooding, haunting quality that is brought about in no small part thanks to the intricate interplay between guitar and vocals. There is a real sense of synchronicity between the two members of the band. The sound gels beautifully and brings to the fore the cohesion of their musical vision.

Synthia is a real stand out, even against the high quality of the other tracks on the album. There is something in the production and urgency of the delivery that hammer the track home. It is a slow burner, but worth the investment. As the layers build and the parts morph from one to another, so the overall feel and power of the music grows as well. Lyrically the words flow wonderfully and fit into one another with pleasing vocal dexterity. The depth and range of the music is ever changing and it is testament to Felix’s compositional skills that it never feels forced. New parts flow into one another seamlessly, very much reminiscent of some of the complexity of jazz harmony.

This marks the halfway point of the album. The tape deck sound effect simulates turning over the tape and the omnipotent storm sounds are heard in the background. Let Me Be Lost is an instrumental interlude, a moody and visceral soundscape that bridges the gap between the two halves of the album.

Show Me Teach Me has some great chilling chord changes and twinkling synth work. It unfolds its heavy atmosphere, characterised by deep swathes of bass and razor sharp vocals. Once again, there is some great composition that keeps the sound fresh and interesting, morphing between major and minor tonalities. It is another track that builds in intensity as it goes on, the percussion pushing forward and bass driving the pulsing rhythm along.

The EDM styled drumbeat and minimal production makes Goodbye a bit of a departure from the rest of the album. SkeletonCrew use the dynamic of the rhythm section to great effect, often dropping the percussion or bass out of a track to highlight certain passages and to emphasise a return to the beat. Nicole uses the full range of her voice to really express the mood of the track and add to the dualistic themes of dark and light in this song.

Come And Get Me rounds off the second half of the album with a funky and jazzy flourish. Featuring many interesting changes and layers of instrumentation as well as arresting lyrics and cool delivery. Come And Get Me is a perfect showcase of everything that makes SkeletonCrew the ingenious and consistently creative powerhouse that they are.

SkeletonCrew are definitely a band to watch out for. Felix Danilo’s inventive compositions are fabulous examples of how to use some fairly ‘out-there’ harmonic ideas to enhance the music and overall effectiveness of the songs. He seems to effortlessly transfer jazz and classical theory over to the pop/rock world. Nicole Obren has a fantastic command over her voice and uses it as an expressive instrument vital to the mood and essence of the album. She is also a highly talented, rhythmic lyricist.

It’s Better I Don’t Know is a creative and articulate album channelling the brilliance of Tool, Billie Eilish, INXS and Mac DeMarco all rolled into one. A stunning debut and introduction to a band who although only at the beginning of their career, are already showing world class skills and extraordinary creative vision.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About SkeletonCrew

SkeletonCrew is the music project of Felix Danilo with vocalist Nicole Obren who have playing together for 5 years, and in a live band (Friday Night Special) for 3 years, appearing at festivals and other live venues.

This project is an adventure into different ideas and ways of expression, while exercising our musical ability, without the reliance on too many others.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for SkeletonCrew


It's Better I Don't Know
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Year: 2020
Type: EP
The Place Where You Fall Down
Year: 2020
Type: Album

Other Reviews By tomashman

Buda - EP Review: Days of Colour
25 May 2020 // by tomashman
The latest EP release from Dunedin’s Buda is an orgy of space rock pandemonium that sounds as if it could have come straight from 1974. The EP Days of Colour draws inspiration from the likes of Hawkwind, David Bowie, T-rex and early ‘Quo all through the modern filter of Buda’s own unique and spellbinding sound.
The Nighthawk Experience - Album Review: Current Lies
14 May 2020 // by tomashman
The Nighthawk Experience’s latest EP Current Lies is a 5-track roundhouse kick of alt-rock mayhem. The EP and accompanying animated material is the latest output from Auckland multi-instrumentalist and singer songwriter Scott McDonald-Bull.
Murmur Tooth - Album Review: A Fault In This Machine
20 Mar 2020 // by tomashman
Murmur Tooth is the brainchild of NZ musician and producer Leah Hinton. As founding member and guitarist for metal band El Schlong she has toured Australasia and Europe for many years, eventually moving to Berlin.
Reb Fountain - Single Review: When Gods Lie
12 Mar 2020 // by tomashman
Reb Fountain’s urgent vocals and the deep harmony of the piano weave together like silver threads; her rhythmic lyrical changes play out like an intricate dance over the subtle backing. When Gods Lie is Reb Fountain’s latest release and first single from her upcoming self-titled album.
Polaroids of Polarbears - Album Review: Breathe In
01 Mar 2020 // by tomashman
The newest release from DIY artist extraordinaire Daniel Brown AKA Polaroids of Polarbears is essential listening for any fans of lo-fi and noise rock. The ten track album Breathe In swirls through reverb drenched peaks and troughs like a tumultuous sonic ocean of expression emanating from an unassuming shed in Feilding.
EP Review: What Even Is Bad Llamas
30 Dec 2019 // by tomashman
The new EP from Christchurch rockers Bad Llamas is a groovy and melodic morsel of timeless rock n roll, delivering a gut-punch of powerful rhythms, hooky melodies and witty, well-written lyrics. What Even Is Bad Llamas is a collection of four tracks each with its own distinct vibe.
Lexxa - Album Review: Toxic Love
06 Dec 2019 // by tomashman
The latest offering from Auckland based twin sisters Maude and Julia Morris AKA Lexxa, is a synth-drooling, bass-wobbling, power-pop adventure that marks this exciting and ingenious band’s debut release. The album title Toxic Love sums up the reflective and emotional subject matter, as well as outlining the juxtaposition between the bouncy pop orientated sound and the darker introspective lyrics.
Gig Review: Pluto @ San Fran, Wellington - 15/11/2019
16 Nov 2019 // by tomashman
As the sun set on Cuba Street on a Friday night in early summer 2019 the lights came up on the legendary San Fran stage. The venue had been gradually filling up and the decent sized crowd pushed up to the front of the stage to watch as the first silhouettes started to appear, plugging in guitars and fiddling with drum hardware.
View All Articles By tomashman

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Sabrina Carpenter
    Tommy Richman
    Sabrina Carpenter
    Billie Eilish
    Post Malone feat. Morgan Wallen
    Kendrick Lamar
    Benson Boone
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem