Eat Skull Wild and Inside

Part of the so-called "shit-gaze" contingent, Portland's Eat Skull are made up of two dudes from the Hospitals, which should give you a sense of how sordid and noise-ridden these guys are. Or should I say, were. Eat Skull's previous album, Sick to Death, was a degenerate of a record, marinated in clamouring performances and speaker hiss. But underneath it all, like former label-mates Times New Viking, there were moments that revealed a pop band were living in that ruckus. Wild and Inside capitalizes on their potential, toning down the discordance a drop to demonstrate they aren't looking to give you a migraine without some relief. "Happy Submarine" is them at their minimal, carrying a tune akin to "Book of Love," though with enough surfin' reverb to cause a wipe out, and "Dawn in the Face" and "Oregon Dreaming" are almost ballad-like in their shrill attempts at tepid songwriting. Eat Skull are still about causing pandemonium via high levels of treble abuse, atonal melodies and brazen attitude — "Nuke Mecca" single-handedly achieves this. It might not rub you the unsettled way that Sick to Death did so well but Wild and Inside proves Eat Skull can progress beyond the chaos and still maintain their rep. (Siltbreeze)