July 30, 2009

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Band of Skulls, Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
Artist First Records, July 28

There’s little that can be said about this perfect storm of up-to-the-minute hipsterism that isn’t going to be said a million other times in the coming weeks. Pointing out faults in something that amounts to Hendrix jamming with Led Zeppelin possessed by Sonic Youth on a Raconteurs binge is tough to do in this era and this UK art-songwriting trio — a chick on bass, two guys making Jack and Meg sounds — aren’t clothes-less college-rock emperors; this could have charted in the ’60s, ’70s and early ’90s (there’s a bit of Damned in there too, so OK, let’s make that a clean four-decade sweep).

Put it this way — if you love White Stripes, you will become a dangerous stalker of this band. They systematically mop the floor with Cold War Kids and all other Franz Ferdinand pretenders by the simple act of combining the guitars of “Heartbreaker” with the basic vocal gist of “She’s So Heavy.” Let it hereby be sacrileged that “I Know What I Am,” the album’s weakest track — not that the song is actually weak — is a useless-carbohydrate Franz-pretender thing that will be backgrounding the most TV commercials of any tune from the album. Ting Tings vs. Berlin in “Patterns”; amusing but earnestly approached Jefferson Starship harmonies in “Fires”; this thing deserves every groupie it gets. A+Eric W. Saeger