Sound — 9
In 2009, Band Of Skulls released their first album, "Baby Darling Dollface Honey". After three years of rampant touring, their second album has finally dropped. Although there is no radical change from the band's first work, the songs are fresh and dazzlingly well written. Arguably, one of the best things about Band Of Skulls is their ability to not only write an album, but to construct it with an intimate balance between harder classic rock and dreamy folk rock. Band Of Skulls is at the top of their game is this regard: five tracks are of the former, and five more of the latter. However, each song does not necessarily stick to the style throughout. For example, the title track, "Sweet Sour", opens and continues with thumping guitar chords and quick trills until the bridge section, which features psychedelic, Zeppelin-esque moaning vocals over a hypnotic, chirping guitar riff. Likewise, the song "Lay My Head Down", which seems to simply be a quiet little folk song with charming vocal harmonies, is abruptly interrupted by churning bass and guitar. One might say that it is these transitions which are so reminiscent of late 60's psychedelia, and make the band sound unique in an era where most songs follow the formula of hit pop songs.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics on "Sweet Sour" are honest, and the poetry is really quite beautiful when appropriate. Songs like "The Devil Takes Care Of His Own" and "You're Not Pretty But You Got It Going On" have just what you'd expect lyrically; obscure but fun lyrics backed by punching guitar and pounding drums. However, songs like "Navigate" and "Bruises" are actually very emotional, and the emotion fits well with the music. Russell Marsden and Emma Richardson have truly beautiful voices, and the fact that they sing gorgeous harmonies throughout most of the album only augments this beauty.
Overall Impression — 10
When listening to "Sweet Sour", two major influences come to mind: Led Zeppelin and The White Stripes. This is a perfect combination for someone like myself, but may not be for everyone. I think any fan of classic rock or indie rock will love this album, and other people may like it very much, too. If you spend your days cranking the radio to Lady Gaga and Justin Beiber, this may not be for you; to each his own. Personally, my favorite songs on the album are "Lay My Head Down", "Sweet Sour", and "Wanderluster", but all of the songs are really very good. As I mentioned earlier, Band Of Skulls does a fantastic job crafting a well emotionally-balanced work of art. The most impressive song is arguably "Wanderluster"; the complex, ever-changing rhythm showcases the band's ability to really WRITE music, while some of their other songs show they can just groove with each other. I can't wait to see what comes next from this band.