REVIEW: The Skeleton Years - "Pieces Of Recovery"
As a reviewer, this proves to be a challenging feat for me as half of this band are extremely good buddies of mine and I must admit to being biased. A great deal. But I have tried for the past couple of hours to listen with the intent to understand, enjoy, and review. (yes, in that order.) And the fact remains that on this 7-track care package, there simply isn't any filler and the songs have me thoroughly enjoying what I hear. The Skeleton Years, who formed sometime in 2012, initially released their first 7-song EP, "Between Lunacy & You" back in July 2013. In such a short span of time, we now find the band more than ready to give us their second 7-song EP, titled Pieces Of Recovery" which sees them launching a series of shows this October to get their new music out.
"Awkward" starts off as an acoustic jam, with a different flavor on the guitar work, which I suspected was not traditionally how Ebong and Sharen play. Turns out I was right all along as this "unique" guitar-playing style was lent by none other than Banat Boys' Paga Manikan. It is a perfect match, though, and sets the mood for the rest of the record. Reminiscent of a Skiba-led band, "Beginnings" puts me back to the familiar sound I knew the band from, on their first EP, though my musing would seem to be an isolated case for this song, as for the rest of the EP, the band have finally managed to capture a sound I would call as their own, which, in itself is a feat that's difficult for new bands to execute. "Make Up, Break Up" is a fucking reincarnation of an old Richard Collier fave. Did anyone say redux? The TSY flavor they injected on this cover is amazingly fresh, and, in some way, is different from just a plain cover, in terms of arrangement. This becomes a problem for me as I love both Richard Collier's original version and this treatment they have given it. So now I love both versions. "Discarded" is a really cryptic tune, leaning heavily on the edge of their goth/post punk roots. "Turn Away" has Paga Manikan lending additional drum programming duties this time. This cut can easily be TSY's poppiest, but if you know the bandmembers themselves, then you know they will never subscribe to anything "pop"-media related. TSY has strong DIY roots and I would love to see them keep it that way. An acoustic version of this cut is hidden as an unlisted last track on this EP. I just fuckin' love the soaring guitar solos in "Closure", which had been another favorite of mine early on as I had been hearing this track played live for it was one of the early songs they played after releasing their last EP, and I immediately took a liking, nay, a craving for this song live whenever I go catch TSY perform.
There comes a time in everyone's life, that, after breaking up with your partner, wallowing in your own sorrow for an extended period of time, you finally conquer and shut off your inner demons, and exorcise that nasty motherfucker out of your system. You get up, get dressed, leave your room, go out, cigarette lit, and walk off into the night, eager to start your next adventure. Upon hearing Darwin scream and sing his songs with that tad bit of pain and the wounded, struggling fighter in him slowly surfacing amongst the strain of his voice, you know The Skeleton Years have traveled their pieces of recovery fully well.
Another stellar effort for The Skeleton Years. And If you are looking for honest music from a hardworking band who have soldiered on in their own little way, sans the glam of hipster magnet, corporate sponsored, chopsuey-arena rock shows, (TSY has played only DIY shows if my memory serves me right..) raising the Sucat "Mabangong Punks" flag defiantly. I declare this a must for any self-respecting post punkers, new wavers, goths, and plain old romantic fools. Call it genre-bender if you will, but this is a must for my collection.
Because Charles, Sharen, Ebong, Mavic, and Darwin.
Now go tell your friends to get this.
They launch this new EP on Saturday 10/11 at BKB, West Avenue, Quezon City, and Saturday, 10/18 at IDB Bar, Sucat, Parañaque. You have to go.