Matt Skiba And The Sekrets


Written by: PP on 27/07/2015 22:48:10

Why all c's are stylized with k's on the new Matt Skiba And The Sekrets album "Kuts" is a mystery to me, but that the album is great is not. Skiba's work with Alkaline Trio has ranged from spectacular to extremely solid throughout the years, so to see him continue in exactly the same vein on his solo efforts should be no surprise to anyone, especially on the back of the exceptional "My Shame Is True" from two years ago. Now, the first Sekrets album "Babylon" was decent, but didn't do enough to distinguish itself from newer Alkaline Trio material. That has been corrected on "Kuts", which sounds not just way different from its predecessor, but most notably, less and less like leftovers from the previous Alkaline Trio studio album recording sessions.

That's excellent news for those of us who enjoy Skiba's relatable lyrical genius and fantastic knack for catchy vocal melodies, as those are still in place on "Kuts". The key difference is in the instrumentation, which is now a little quieter and in a different tune than before. Many songs are relaxed almost to the point of being ballads, such as the retro-80s style keyboard track "I Just Killed To Say I Love You". In that sense, the record is probably closest to "Crimson" you'll hear from Skiba & co today, except in a brighter and lighter version. In fact, positioning "Kuts" in between that record and the airy and spacious material by Angels And Airwaves starts to make sense as you make your way through the record. The songs are lofty, floating freely in an expansive soundscape that nonetheless takes great care to avoid over-inflating or over-producing the sound (A&A, I'm looking at you). In turn, this allows a song like "Krashing" to deliver a truly killer vocal melody that's among the best Skiba has written in years, which should make most Trio fans feel right at home. "Way Bakk When" is equally catchy with its subtle piano on the background that's followed by more 80s synths, all the while Skiba delivers his trademark up-then-down scale melodies in perfect tune.

This is in stark contrast to opener "Lonely And Kold" which has a surprisingly original and quirky sound overall. The song feels awkward at first, but the somber melody turns out to be infectiously catchy just beneath the surface. More importantly, both this song and the rest of the tracks on the album prove that Sekrets isn't just a lackluster timewaster side-project for Skiba, nor does it sound like the usual solo work from punk vocalists. Instead, it has a well-formed soundscape that it upholds throughout the record, which is different enough to distinguish itself from Alkaline Trio records, but still familiar enough that most fans should be lapping this up straight away. It's might not be as good as the best Alkaline Trio records, but it's better than "This Addiction" or "Agony & Irony", for example. Great tunes, great delivery, and a quirky, retrofitted sound characterized by the slightly gothic synths.


Download: Krashing, She Said, Lonely And Kold, I Just Killed To Say I Love You, Way Bakk When
For the fans of: Alkaline Trio, Angels And Airwaves, Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.06.2015
Superball Music

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