Review: Himalayan – Band of Skulls

Band of Skulls’ new album ‘Himalayan’ suffers from predicability, writes Lauren Gross.

Cover art for Band Of Skulls' new album Himalayan

Band of Skulls are back with their third album Himalayan to once again prove that, thankfully, rock n roll is not dead. The trio of Russel Marsden, Emma Richardson and Matt Hayward have been pumping out old school blues/garage/alternative rock songs since 2008.

I was really hoping to hear more amazing rock anthems like The Devil Takes Care of Their Own from their last album Sweet & Sour.

I’ve always loved Band of Skulls, but I must admit that a lot of their material has failed to be outstanding enough to lift them above the vast sea of rock bands and establish themselves as something truly special.

The Devil Takes Care of Their Own was a unique track that delivered a powerful assault to the ears and rendered itself unforgettable. The band needs more outstanding tracks if they want to take it to the next level and stand the test of time.

It is not full of amazingly different material that you will remember until the day you die.

In that regard, Himalayan doesn’t really deliver. It is not full of amazingly different material that you will remember until the day you die. We’ve kind of heard it all before from these guys and other similar bands. When listening to the album I was strongly reminded of The Black Keys and there were also psychedelic echoes similar to Tame Impala. Though that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good album.

The album opens with Asleep at the Wheel, one of the best of the album though it does stick to the safe, radio friendly territory. It’s a blues rock track that starts of kind of ordinary, before Russel Marsden interrupts the repetitive instrumentals to howl ‘Cause where we are going is anyone’s guess’, the songs main guitar riff then begins. The riff is the hero of the song and is what gives it a unique quality.

The title track Himalayan takes some inspiration from old school funk and works well because it successfully utilises Marsden and Richardson’s male and female vocals.

My favourite track on the album is Heaven’s Key, which is genuinely beautiful. When listening to this song I wasn’t reminded of the Black Keys, or Tame Impala or any other band for that matter, I only thought of the Band of Skulls. This track is truly their sound and it’s great. There are misses too such as Get Yourself Together; an awkward acoustic closer that is cluttered and simply doesn’t work on the album as a whole.

Overall, Himalayan suffers from predictability. The album is full of amazing guitar riffs, impressive instrumental skills and howling vocals that will satisfy any fan of the band or the rock genre. Though some of the tracks make for a good listen, they are unlikely to become classics that you’ll constantly repeat.