Band – XO Skeletons
Album – Bored By Heaven
Label – None, free independent release
Sounds like – Not of this earth
I don’t know where to begin with this, so I might as well start with a description. XO Skeletons is the side project of Some Girls/ex-Give Up The Ghost screamer, Wes Eisold; the man some people on the band’s last.fm page have dubbed “hardcore’s answer to Mike Patton.” Their sound is quite something, drawing influences from hip-hop, dance music and 80’s punk rock. Featuring members of Hatebreed as well as various other affiliates with Cardboard City (all under pseudonyms), the band has released their debut album ‘Bored by Heaven‘ for free (see their myspace for link.) Why? Well, this statement should prove why:
“It’s 2007..Who needs a record label? XO’s does it for the kids yo!”
Quite. Let’s give it a spin….
Opening track ‘Town Crier‘ is a glitch-filled electronic attack that hits home like a sledgehammer through a melon. A splatter of staccato drum beats and frenzied keyboards. ‘Better Babes‘ follows along a similar pattern, encompassing a gang-chant vocals, elements of rap (provided by Benn Grim) and Daft Punk-esque robotics. The rest of this 8-tracker follows along similar lines; musically the creative mixture of programmed drumbeats and heavy synthesisers mesh very well, giving XO Skeletons sound a solid backbone (arf.) Eisold has steered clear of his thrash-punk/screamo tendencies as much as possible, meaning his vocals appear coherent (in some sense) and sound altogether more positive and give ‘Bored By Heaven‘ the kind of uplifting, optimistic attitude.
‘Live From Planet Death‘ is a rabble-rousing gospel-esque chant of loyalty towards XO Skeletons. One of the band’s many vocalists, asks the audience to testify, before Eisold lets rip with a trademark roar of “I HATE IT!” before launching into an amusing tongue-in-cheek rap-rock epitaph, spitting lyrics like some enraged puff adder. It’s a fist-in-the-air anthem that talks of the down-and-outs in America and their struggle to survive.
‘Birthdays’ is a throwaway ramble of repetitive unimportance that does little towards XO Skeletons sound and becomes tiring and quite dull after repeated listens.
Eisold exhibits a confusing attitude towards religion through his lyrics; spewing both religious and at some points, atheist tirades. On ‘Town Crier‘ he claims to have understood the words of the bible, but felt bored by the notion of heaven and a dismissive and uncaring attitude towards the notion of hell and the damned. Is he stating his true place is somewhere in limbo, or that he wishes to exist forever?
Regardless of the true nature of the lyrics, the obvious elements of being an underdog, unrequited love, god and the devil, heaven and hell and the bible are all classic elements of Eisold’s tortured and exposed soul.
An interesting, if slightly warped 20 minutes of musical experimentation. Recommended for those with open minds and patience. Plus, it’s free.
To here a track from ‘Bored By Heaven‘ click below and sample the delights of ‘Live From Planet Death!’