Published May 27, 2016Developing a sound takes time, and it rarely happens all at once. Band of Skulls find themselves at the midway point of their evolution on their fourth record By Default, on which the band boldly move towards dark dance-rock. Unfortunately, their half-step forward results in a few half-steps back along the way.
Single "Killer" is a highlight, all brutal and driving heavy rock, with catchy vocals and contagious, tap-along percussion, but the biggest evolutionary step comes on "So Good," where the band infuse their sound with a dark disco tone, creating a dance track that's catchy but never feels forced.
Unfortunately, the rest of album suffers from a lot of forgettable and similar verses, and though they often lead to great choruses, they take a lot of excitement out of the record. The band rework familiar sounds, like "Spoonman"-esque breaks in "Black Magic" and Arctic Monkey-evoking overtones to "This Is My Fix," creating some interesting moments, but despite a stronger second half to the record, By Default ultimately feels half-baked, missing an edge more often than not. (BMG)