Ian Skelly

Cut From A Star

Written by: BV on 13/10/2013 19:25:11

Now, I’ve wanted to review the solo-debut of Ian Skelly for quite some time but I have never really gotten around to it. For those of you not ‘in the know’, Ian Skelly spends most of his time with the Liverpool-based psychedelics in The Coral, where he is manning the drums. Following a bout of illness, Skelly allegedly had feverish hallucinogenic dreams that led him to create the foundation what was to become his solo-debut album “Cut From a Star” – a debut he would consequently record in The Coral’s rehearsal space.

The album itself comes off as rather hallucinogenic – fully living up to the quite eclectic background story. As it opens with the title track, odd whistling sounds and what I believe is either a synthesizer or a synthesized guitar lay the foundation for Skelly’s haunting vocals to emerge from. The simple melody of the song reminds me quite a bit of Elephant Stone’s neo-psych pop-songs – with good reason. You see, Ian Skelly himself seems to perpetually reside within the slightly pop-esque elements of psychedelia – to great success as well.

As the album progresses on to “Firebird”, the pop elements are running wild and have become the absolute dominant factor of the album. It is not necessarily a bad thing though, as Skelly’s knack for creating odd structures, as well as textures, shines through in a highly retro-stylized fashion that seems to stem directly from olden times without being derivative. For instance, I hear both Beach Boys (“Pet Sounds” era) and The Beatles (post-“Revolver”), yet I also hear contemporary artists like the aforementioned Elephant Stone as well as Jacco Gardner – who seemingly treads in the same musical waters as Skelly.

For all the songwriting prowess Ian Skelly seemingly possesses, there are also flaws on the album. Much akin to Elephant Stone, this album also seemingly gets lost in its own eclecticism and the sheer whim surrounding the general songwriting – thus coming across as a bit off-putting after the first few listens, with tracks like the title track seeming a bit too ‘weak’ for repeated listening.

However, the album is a grower (at least to me) and the metamorphosis of the track “Caterpillar” is perhaps the best way to describe Skelly’s transformation from a ‘member’ of a band to a full-fledged solo artist. Whilst he predominantly remained steady and interesting as a part of The Coral, his recent metamorphosis has transformed his musical talents into a kaleidoscopic butterfly that soars at a whole different level than what he has thus far achieved with The Coral. This is, in essence, a highly recommended debut effort albeit the review of it is extremely overdue.


Download: Caterpillar, Cut From A Star, Firebird, I See You
For The Fans Of: Elephant Stone, Jacco Gardner, The Beatles (post-“Revolver”), Beach Boys (“Pet Sounds”-era)
Listen: facebook.com

Release Date 10.12.2012

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