Nottingham’s Some Skeletons second release And Signs & Ampersands really sees this band coming into their own. On the back if their last release Kypes | Pests | Throats their second EP sees the band sounding more confident and settled in their sound than before. Drawing influences from bands such as Idlewild, Smashing Pumpkins, Deftones and Brand New they have created a sound that is very powerful when it needs to be whilst simultaneously creating more gentle and mellow moments seemingly effortlessly.
First song Grand Hopes opens with a very subdued feel. Subtle guitar lines build gradually and intertwine with vocal melodies beautifully. The introduction of drums and some fantastically composed, rich vocal harmonies is a welcome addition before unleashing a wall of noise that is nothing short of delightful. As this song progresses it does nothing but go from strength to strength. Slight alterations in timing in some of the songs heavier parts help keep it sounding fresh and energetic without becoming a challenge to listen to. There is a level of atmosphere also that is large but not at any point over-egged and as Grand Hopes comes to a close, an appetite for the rest of the record is well and truly established.
Second song Squall picks up much where the opening song left off with fantastic guitar and vocal melodies building into choruses that contain immense levels of space and atmosphere. One of the most satisfying elements of the Some Skeletons performance is that at no point does their vocalist adopt the faux American accent that so many British bands seem to love at the moment. The higher elements of his performance seem to lie somewhere between Thom Yorke and early Simon Neil making them powerful but never sounding harsh or forced.
Third song Vulture continues in a slightly different manor to its predecessors. Rich harmonies pack the opening to capacity giving the song great depth and space before stabbing drums crescendo bringing it to an end as quickly as it began. It is a song that although very simple has a distinctly upbeat feel. It is, however the shortest song on this release with its running time clocking up just 1:53.
Following song Clearing sees a return to the more upbeat pastures tread in earlier songs. Weaving between heavier and more mellow sections effortlessly it brings to mind bands such as Circa Survive and Sharks.
Closing song Fervour Spent is possibly the ‘biggest’ song on the record with Deftones like changes in rhythm and dynamics constantly keeping the listener guessing which direction the next section will go. The more subdued second half of this song sees Some Skeletons giving arguably their best performance as a band with awe inspiring guitar and vocal lines sat gracefully on top if a solid rhythm section.
As And Signs & Ampersands comes to a close there seems to be only one very slight ‘issue’ with this EP and it is from a production point only. At times it can seem that the drum parts are overpowered slightly by the rest of the band but this is not anywhere near enough of an issue make this a frustrating or not enjoyable listen. It seems as though Some Skeletons are going to be a band to keep an eye on over the coming months/years. With UK tours planned for later this year and a solid release like this behind them, it is surely impossible for them to not make an impact.