‘Himalayan’ is the third feature length album from Southampton rock trio Band of Skulls. The album continues to pave the band’s way to establishing themselves as one of the acts that have greatly contributed to the garage rock revival of the 21st century. Opening track, Asleep At The Wheel features the lyric: “Where we are going is anyone’s guess,” and the direction of this album really is anybody’s guess.
Band of Skulls are a band with a very big sound, and certainly deliver their take on garage rock very well. The issue lies in the lack of originality of the tracks. Quite a few of the tracks on the album are very good, but they all begin to sound the same after more than one listen. The inspiration of fellow British rockers Led Zeppelin and blues rock duo The Black Keys can be heard throughout the album, and it does begin to become a little bit stale after a while. The bluesy guitar riffs could fit straight into a Black Keys song, and this is a definite issue to the overall standing of the album.
But it isn’t all bad, in fact, it’s far from it. While quite a bit of ‘Himalayan’ lacks uniqueness, the tracks that shine are truly fantastic. Cold Sweat is a soul-rock track that features bassist Emma Thompson on vocals, and it is a nice change of pace from the first few songs on the album. I Guess I Know You Fairly Well is another stand out track, that builds itself up to erupt into a momentous chorus.
However, Nightmares is the gem on the album, featuring 70’s influenced guitar riffs and an infectious, radio friendly melody. It’s certainly a song with the ability to fill stadiums, and it’s clear that Band of Skulls have grown a lot while supporting Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Queens of the Stone Age in the last year.
All in all, ‘Himalayan’ is a good album. Sure, it has tracks that are uninspired and lack originality, but they aren’t necessarily bad songs. The songs that stand out do so for a very good reason, and without them, this album would almost certainly fail to deliver any sort of substantial impact. The cheesy riffs in songs like Hoochie Coochie are genuinely contagious and enjoyable to listen to, and that’s something that the album succeeds in.
‘Himalayan’ isn’t an album that will go down in history as amazing, but it certainly won’t be struck off as a bad album either, and is certainly a valiant effort from Band of Skulls.