Sometimes it's the little monsters that grow up to be the most intimidating, and this week's Breaking Sounds spotlight goes to the debut LP by Portland, Oregon's explosive new powerhouse, Eat Skull. With trace remains of the old Ohio band Hole Class (which featured Beth from Times New Viking, and Rob from The Hospitals), Eat Skull proffer up some of the most wretchedly hidden pop formulations, layered under thick scuzz and buzzing with overdriven organ tonality. With their debut 7" on Meds released last year to much heavy breathing and copious amounts of drool, they threw their beaten bodies into the ring, got everyone's attention and broke everything in their wake. The second 7" EP on Skulltones sold out in a flash and by then, they had the golden touch, which drove their record prices up to ridiculous levels, and solidified their terrifying presence. Their humming static warmth started sucking people in from all directions and soon Siltbreeze Records was at the helm of yet another modern classic as they roped in Eat Skull and brought the Sick to Death LP right into our withered and deflated lives. Just as their brethren Times New Viking and Psychedelic Horseshit intertwine obnoxious anti-melodies over secret pop songs to great effect, Eat Skull take their guttural complications and make even more sense than any of their counterparts, using more brute force and less room for indie-comparisons. Although the brain-melting sleeve artwork seems right at home in the mid 90s Siltbreeze back catalog, this is unmistakably the blasting raw sound of today. Eat Skull is a shining example of a band beating out unmistakably modern punk with unpredictable turns and off-key vocals, going fully against the grain of the definition of "pop music" yet helping redefine the concept in the process.
As in some sort of moment of clarity, Eat Skull on their debut album manage to ace no less than two slow-tempo numbers that show there's even more possibilities on their jagged horizon. "Cartoon Beginning" and "New Confinement" pull back the distorted blast and bleed with vulnerable greatness comparable to New Zealand's finest, The Clean, so just as Sic Alps have set curiosities alight, don't be surprised to see Eat Skull rope in converts by the truckload. As if to take themselves as least seriously as possible, they just can't cover up the great songs they carve out with their primitive instruments, so it's without any ego stroking and with only the purest intentions that an album as raw and honest as this can be made in today's modern musical vaccuum. Just as the chills are impossible to shake off once "Shredders On Fry" lures you in with that juvenile xylophone beat, it's going to be quite a shock once you figure out how much you like this band and all its disjointed pop ideals. Pick up Eat Skull's Sick to Death LP from either Goner, Floridas Dying, or HERE, or better yet, buy a copy from the band on tour.