Where the Skeletons Play are a dark rock duo that are heavily influenced by bands like Tool and early Deftones. Their atmospheric and slow building rock is explored on their mini-album Serotonin Blueprints and it makes for an intriguing listen.
The band’s music plods along at a slow tempo for the majority of the songs on Serotonin Blueprints. Songs generally start in a thoughtful, leering manner before stepping up a notch with a big chorus. This structure is followed throughout the record and the band thrive off a simple yet effective structure.
Vocals are delivered with a mega-phone effect which gives them a lightly distorted quality. This adds an ambient and skewered tone to the release that helps it build a further introverted and thoughtful atmosphere. The almost whispered chanting of vocalist Stitch lacks a lot of melody but it certainly helps create the mood the band are trying to achieve. Once again this contrasts with the band’s chorus’ which allow the riffs to take centre stage with Stitch opting for a more yelled vocal style.
The problem is this sound gets a bit tiresome after a couple of songs. The band need far more variety to engage the listener after half an hour of similar sounding songs. The band wade through the same ideas over and over and while the odd riff gives you something memorable to latch onto like in Punctuate the Sky and the wonderfully proggy breakdown in If We Just Pretend…, it never takes the band too long until we’re back with a crawling dirge that gets old far too quickly. You will find yourself yawning by the fourth track and the final two tracks don’t offer any surprises.
Where the Skeletons Play have built a brooding and expansive sound which puts the listener in an unsettling mood. The band clearly have the talent to create a beautifully dark atmosphere but they rely on a tried and tested formula. Too much of Serotonin Blueprints relies on the same structure and the lack of stylistic changes hurt this release to a degree. If the band can vary their sound on future releases by moving away from their dragging tempos and being a bit more creative with their vocals by perhaps removing the mega-phone effect and giving them stronger melodies then they’d stand more of a chance of holding the listener’s attention.
Where the Skeletons Play release Serotonin Blueprints independently on May 27th.