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Band Of Skulls: Himalayan (Album Review)

The third album from Southampton trio Band of Skulls reflects their trajectory over the last five years – from small venues to mid-sized ones – and their ambition to knock on even bigger doors. They’ve crafted a sound that is virtually a catch-all of recent guitar band successes: a bit Kings of Leon here, a bit Arctic Monkeys/Queens of the Stone Age there, and a lot of the Black Keys everywhere. However, guitarist Russell Marsden and bassist Emma Richardson’s combined vocals at times provide an androgynous, T Rexy twist, and the 12 tracks make occasional visits to everything from classic rock workouts to yearning powerballadry. If some of their hooks feel instantly familiar, it’s because they are: it’s not too difficult to spot direct steals, with everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Moby getting plundered. Originality is not their strong suit, then, but they are adept at weaving a killer riff into a big tune, and Asleep at the Wheel and Hoochie Coochie are the kind of postmodern glam stomps that should fill indie dancefloors like the Black Keys do.