III by Portland based Eat Skull will be a lot of things to a lot of people, but for me it's the first album of 2013 to GRAB me, SHAKE me, and hint at prolonged listening pleasures.
Like David Bowie played underwater on half speed, opener "Space Academy" promises a fuzz filled, lo-fi atmospherically trippy good time. Were the album to continue along at this tone, all would be well, but instead, the next track ("Dead Horses") tickles the pop rock funny bone, slightly copping a riff from "Sweet Jane" at the chorus, while burying its feet into the dank of a dirty garage. What started off as a proposed good time has quickly become something grander.
As the album progresses from the electronic hypnotic psychedelia of "How Do I Know When To Say Goodnight," to the pretty tambourine and piano groove "Amnesty Box," to the mindfuck chaos of "Twin Sikk Moons" (a song so trippy it makes me anxious), Eat Skull establish themselves as a band that sounds original.
Let us pause to appreciate THAT.
The album is not perfect (seriously, "Twin Sikk Moons" makes my teeth hurt and my neck itch!), but in its flaws lie the bold explorations of a band looking to expand beyond the basic. Like another great band who had an album of the same name that was also both brilliant and anxiety-inducing (Sebadoh), Eat Skull is taking risks and, in so doing, often striking gold.