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Band of Skulls unveil new album By Default - premiere

A first look at the band's fourth studio record

Roisin O'Connor
Wednesday 25 May 2016 09:19 BST
Band of Skulls - Photo by Andy Cotterill
Band of Skulls - Photo by Andy Cotterill (Band of Skulls/Press image)

Band Of Skulls are putting out their highly anticipated fourth record By Default at the end of this week and we're premiering it here today on The Independent.

Listen to the album and let us know what you make of it:

Band of Skulls - By Default

You can immediately hear how the band are going for short and sweet - each song packs a punch, from the fast-paced rock n' roll vibe on "Back Of Beyond" to "Killer", the single they put out in March, and "So Good", where bassist Emma Richardson takes lead vocals.

Produced by the renowned Gil Norton [Patti Smith, Pixies, Feeder], By Default feels like the new era the band hail it as - they've always had a certain swagger in their music but here you can really feel an authority and confidence that didn't quite fully make it into Himalayan.

Guitarist/vocalist Russell Marsden previously said of the record: "The first three [records] were like a trilogy, a piece of work in of themselves. We wanted to do those things, and we did them all. We took a breath, took a look at what we’d done, and started from scratch again."

Q&A with Band Of Skulls

Can you tell us a bit about the build-up to your new album – where you recorded it, etc?

When we finished touring our third album Himalayan we decided to find a new space to start writing in and came across a church in our home town which we rented. We striped down all our equipment to the bare bones and got to work.

The sound in the space was incredible and so it really influenced the feel of the record. We sampled a lot of the sounds and singing in there a capella sounded really powerful. It was a very productive time.

We met up with Gil Norton in London soon after and he really understood what we going for and within two weeks we were in Rockfield recording the album.

You said you’ve let your imaginations run wild for this record, have you found inspiration in any particular place/person/idea?

The first influence was the space we were writing in, a church in Southampton. The atmosphere and the sound was inspiring, especially with the drums.

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We moved to a second church after a while and there started sampling the sounds in there, some of that made it on the final cut.

Album artwork for the new Band of Skulls album By Default
Album artwork for the new Band of Skulls album By Default

Between the two sessions we wrote about 100 songs, huge lists of ideas taped to the walls. We only had to stop for a polling station, a wedding and a gypsy funeral complete with plumed horses. It was real and we were left to our own devices.

Do you have a favourite track on the album?

We're proud of the whole record and our favourites are constantly changing. We have just started taking this new record out on the road and so seeing the reactions early on before the album has been released is always interesting.

The songs "In Love By Default" and "Bodies" have been getting really good reactions when we've played them live and there's also a song called "Tropical Disease" which is a warped soundtrack to our summer.

Album tracklist

1) Black Magic

2) Back Of Beyond

3) Killer

4) Bodies

5) Tropical Disease

6) So Good

7) This Is My Fix

8) Little Momma

9) Embers

10) In Love By Default

11) Erounds

12) Something

By Default is out on 27 May - pre-order now on iTunes now

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