Thursday, September 16, 2010

Album Review - Demos (Matt Skiba)

Matt Skiba - Demos (Asian Man Records 2010)

I wrote a few days ago about my favorite split releases, and one of the ones I wrote about was Matt Skiba's split with Kevin Seconds. I've been an Alkaline Trio fan for years, and while I enjoy Dan Andriano, Skiba is by far my favorite member. So I was very excited when I heard a while back that he was releasing a whole album of solo work. I was lucky enough to see Alk3 at Warped Tour and picked up a copy of the album before it was officially on sale. And, as expected, I loved every minute of it.

The album has a different sound and style than the Kevin Seconds split. That release was all acoustic guitar, bass and drums (recorded by Skiba). Demos is more in line with his work with Josiah Steinbrick in the side project Heavens. I was expecting more like the split, so the various electric instruments and drum machines caught me a bit by surprise. In a good way, though.

The album is a collection of home demos Skiba recorded, and they do sound homemade. Some of the instruments sound almost strained, as though the equipment couldn't handle the audio levels. The vocals on some tracks especially sound a bit distorted, but I can't tell if they were meant to sound that way or if it was the limitation of the equipment. It doesn't matter either way, though, because Skiba makes it work. Every limitation or flaw just adds to the overall sound, which makes Skiba something of a musical genius in my mind.

I would definitely recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of Alkaline Trio, Heavens, the split, or just good music in general. The stand out tracks for me include "You Didn't Feel A Thing," "Haven't You," and "Special," which is the closest to the sound of the split.

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