Album Review: Skegss – ‘Rehearsal’

Just in time for the Summer we’ve been longing for, Skegss release their second studio album Rehearsal; a record that epitomizes the beach vibes a Brit only longs for, and something only Skegss can truly channel so thoroughly, yet effortlessly. Words by Lucy Gray.

The staple Skegss sound resonates with something of a garage-surfer-punk, yet Rehearsal challenges this without breaking the barriers too severely, and too early. The staple is still present in this album, but there are hints within tracks that nod towards a desire to balance their sound with both upbeat and high-pitched guitar riffs, alongside deep basses and grungy vocals.

Upon first listen of this record, there’s a striking resemblance between the tonal journey of its musicality, against that of the energy of a summer’s day out. Think of a day-long road trip, or a day with friends barbequing or at the beach. The beginning of the record exemplifies excitement balanced with a cooling relief of freedom, basking in glorious sun and heat with the best company free-time can buy. Vocalist Reed, himself proclaims the inspiration for lead single Valhalla is the bliss of friendly company with a few beers, of which its musical dynamism reflects.

‘Pure euphoria, manifested not in adrenaline-fuelled antics, but with a balanced heartiness that drives you to open another can.’

As the record progresses, it continues to mimic the energy of enjoying the pinnacle of the day or activity; pure euphoria, manifested not in adrenaline-fuelled antics, but with a consistent and balanced heartiness that drives you to open another can, or perhaps poorly attempt some ball games on the sand. What this says about Skegss is their tonal awareness; you can let this record play and not be hit by any surprises. Despite this sounding like a criticism, this is actually what makes it the perfect Summer record, a compliment to any Summer-specific endeavours.

Of course, the album, like most others, explores different tempos. Bush TV, for example, with its quick riffs and arguably even quicker drum beats, is amongst the livelier tracks. Yet, its immediate successor Picturesque Moment relaxes the record again. Coming back to this idea of a day at the beach, for example, it’s at this track you might imagine yourself and your friends to be worn out from the day’s antics, and sitting down as a collective to gather your energy before the sunset falls.

This energy is carried on in tracks such as Wake Up and Lucky, the records standout acoustic-based tracks. Skegss, never ones to exemplify anything too heavy in their music, provide a more obvious break within these tracks which, although are simpler in build, maintain the overall voice of the record. Again, it’s this consistency that makes it the sort of album you can leave on without any surprises. The band's sound undeniably has punk within its roots, but the type they are channeling in Rehearsal has Summer coursing through its veins, perhaps why there’s something slightly more commercial about it.

There’s a pure euphoria that Skegss have exemplified in this record; a euphoria synonymous with the bright heat of sunnier weather, and hence is something that is sure to appeal to most. ‘Curse My Happiness’ exemplifies this commercial indie appeal synonymous with festival favourites such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, with its opening riffs oozing sunny indie grooves with a bohemian edge. Where previously punk might be seen as a little more polarising, this sort is something that had collectives in mind and should be enjoyed as such; with mates.

‘The record’s driving voice wants you to grab your mates for drinks and general merriment.’

Thinking of previous songs by Skegss, the landscape in this album arguably has more commercial appeal and provides for easier listening in parts. For example, No Future For Me from EP Holiday Food exemplifies the punk at the core of Skegss; a track that marries brash drums and high-pitched riffs to intensify the vocals of Reed. This isn’t to say that their previous work matches this entirely, but it does go to show an adaption in their musical landscape, albeit pretty minor.

The record’s driving voice wants you to grab your mates for drinks and general merriment, as per Skegss’s discography, but arguably there’s something a bit more purposeful behind its tempo; maybe it has the melancholy from the past year in mind as we all likely do, and hence what drives its resonance is a longing for better days through the sonic landscape. The record itself sticks to what makes the band so charming in the first place and although it experiments with a few new elements, within its first few bars anyone could recognise this as a Skegss record. Again, this is part of the charm with the Aussie trio, and anyone who is already a fan will be delighted to have more of what reeled them in, in the first place.

Written by: Lucy Gray

Edited by: Alex Duke

Featured image courtesy of Skegss via Facebook.