I listen to a lot of music on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Whether it be for the site (submissions, keeping on top of new releases, etc.) or in my own free time, I’m always listening to music. It’s not very often, but sometimes a record makes me pause and take stock in what I’m hearing. Why? Because it’s so unlike anything else, for starters. Being There by Skeleton Beach is one of those records. This is the work of an artist who is obviously not interested in the status quo, and kudos to him for carving out his own path.
The Start of Something (the aptly titled first track of the record) sets a tone, and I’m going to warn you right now, there’s very little sunshine where we’re headed. Quite the opposite, actually. Being There plays out like the score to the darkest film never made…a horrifying homage to the soundtracks of old, when mood, tension, and dread were used with surgical precision. As the record unfolds you find yourself sitting on a very precarious balancing point…one leg set firmly in the past and the other in a progressive present. Skeleton Beach toes this line with a deft level of craftiness. Lean too much to the left and you’ve got a murky nostalgia piece with no new ideas. Lean too much to the right and you’re pulling away from the roots of what makes music like this so striking. It’s not easy to do, and a lot of artists flounder trying to maintain the quality on both sides. Not so in this case. In fact, Being There is so good it sounds like Skeleton Beach has created a whole niche for himself.
If you like your music to challenge you, make you stop and think, and more than that, keep you riveted from start to finish, Being There is going to be the counterbalance to all the sunshine and frivolous fun this summer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Skeleton Beach has released a droll or depressing album. Far from it. It’s more of an interactive experience that you soak in and interpret as opposed to the cotton candy records that you get to consume like a snack. This is a full course album that demands, and honestly deserves, the time you give to it. Pick it up for yourself at Bandcamp right now! You won’t regret it!