Band of Skulls’ fifth studio album Love Is All You Love comes 10 years after their debut album Baby Darling Doll Face Honey. Known for their catchy songs and rock numbers like I Know What I Am and Sweet Sour, on their latest album, they’ve switched direction and added electronic percussion and synths.
Now, most bands that we love tend to change direction, grow their sound as they mature and garner different influences. If the band has a good producer and people around them are honest, the switch in direction can be a success. However, that change of direction often sees the band losing fans or returning to their old sound on the next album.
Love Is All You Love starts strong with song Carnivorous. It’s got a good beat and is a fun track but is definitely moving away from rock. Next track That’s My Trouble is more of what you want when you think of Band of Skulls. It’s definitely the best song on the album and from here on in, the album just goes downhill.
Title track Love Is All You Love is a sweet, beautiful ballad but there is something about it that just doesn’t quite hit the mark. There is something missing from it – emotion. It feels slightly sterile and as a result, it doesn’t give you that connection to it.
Not The Kind of Nothing lives up to its name with its cheesy pop song feel and lyrics that feel that they were written by someone so much younger. Again, it just feels like something is missing from the song. It almost feels as if it was thrown onto the album to make up numbers.
The album just doesn’t get any better. It’s not even that the songs are bad. That’s the worst thing. All the right noises are there and there is no mistaking their talent. Emma Richardson’s voice is sublime but the dots aren’t connecting and it leaves you wanting. It doesn’t make you want to get up and dance and it doesn’t even make you want to cry. It’s background music. Something that you would put on over a family dinner when you don’t want something distracting your conversations.
With most albums, they leave you wanting more. They certainly shouldn’t make you feel happy that they’ve finished. It feels like all the colour has been sucked out of it and left you with something beige. Listening to the album makes you feel like you have been left in a beige room with beige furnishings and being fed only plain boiled rice.
It’s a shame really because past albums haven’t sounded so plain. Whether it’s the direction the band wanted to take or whether it’s producer Richard X, it’s something I have been trying to put my finger on for the last few days of listening to the album on repeat. Their live performances are powerful and do leave you wanting more. Hopefully, these songs translate better live than they do on the recording.
Love Is All You Love misses the mark on so many different levels. It’s not even a ‘grower’. Unfortunately, this new change of direction for Band of Skulls doesn’t feel right. It feels more like they are doing it to suit the market rather than for themselves. None of the songs on this album are catchy and after turning off the music, not one song gets stuck in your head. In fact, once the music is off, this reviewer can’t even remember how they go and that’s saying something.