LP/digital download, Bruits De Fond/Night On Earth/Radon Uropa, 2009
Very occasionally I hear something which really takes me by surprise. The name Solar Skeletons had me expecting some kind of psychedelic electronica, optimistically with some Coil influence, pessimistically veering off into dubious hippy territory. When the six-song LP “Necroethyl” kicked off, I was very pleasantly surprised to hear something which definitely seemed original. I came up with an immediate description, which I was later quite satisfied to discover matched that of a certain Arlequin of Brussels quoted in the press info: early Cabaret Voltaire gone blues! And to then find out that the two skeletons involved in this band are normally occupied in the breakcore projects Tzii and Ripit was even more remarkable.
Not being a massive fan of breakcore, I am highly impressed at the slowed down, late night drunken dirges on offer here. We have a creeping synthetic beat sounding like it slithered out of an early drum machine, a thick, dirty bass guitar with a lot of reverb, some unusual guitar atmospherics and two mysterious voices incanting alcoholic poetry over the top. It really is rather special and unique! The only criticisms I can offer are the lack of massive variation between some tracks, and that the affected American accent appearing at certain times is rather unconvincing. But the overall result is delivered with a black humour and offbeat charm, so these minor failings can be easily forgiven.
While the two opening tracks follow the darker pattern described above, the third track, “Mr. Saler”, takes the blues influence further and lightens the mood slightly, albeit still with an intimidating edge. “Low Inside Electric Sun” then takes us firmly back to the industrial field, with low electronic pulses and bizarre harmonics, bringing to mind some of the sicker moments of Throbbing Gristle, but without the need for any disgusting lyrics. “Candy in a Jar” has a quirky rhythm akin to a Casio keyboard setting, but clever guitar work gives the sense that the candy in question is seriously hazardous to one’s health, emphasised unpleasantly by a crying baby in the background as a grizzled Mexican recounts a tale of depravity and filth. Finally, the title track is another dense industrial piece, the drones contrasting nicely with lightweight percussion, then made a little awkward by a loping bass guitar and a wonky trumpet, evoking a difficult stumble home from a hard night on hard liquor.
So if you like really old industrial music and you like blues, or if you just want to hear something unusual the likes of which you’ve never heard before, give Solar Skeletons a try. Now I feel that I want to drink myself into a stupor!
— Nathan Clemence