Band of Skulls has been around for years now. Their album, Baby Darling Doll Face Honey just celebrated it’s 10-year anniversary and how most people discovered them – iTunes – is kind of a lost thing these days. Now, Band of Skulls is on their fifth LP, the newly released Love Is All You Love.
There’s a lot that’s different with Love Is All You Love. First, it’s the band’s first album away from drummer Matt Hayward since he left in 2017. Russel Marsden and Emma Richardson remain as co-vocalists/guitar & bass, but having Hayward gone has the band losing a little bit of their magic. A huge part of the band’s first four albums was the electric chemistry that the trio had together, that’s lost a bit here, at least on first listen. Julian Dorio does a great job playing drums here, it’s just that he brings a different style of playing and a little different personality to the songs. The other biggest notable difference is Band of Skulls working with producer Richard X. Most of the songs here aren’t focused on straight-forward rock sounds like the band’s incorporated on their first four albums. Everything’s cleaner on this record, making it immediately different than the band’s previous works too.
Having the band move away even ever so slightly from their sound is a bit jarring at first. When the first single, “Cool Your Battles” came out, it wasn’t that impressive. Thankfully, that was just the introduction to the album and not the full album itself. The rest of the album features Band of Skulls elements that we’re used to; Richardson and Marsden perform well vocally all over the album and the guitar work is superb even if some of the tones are different from what we’ve heard from Band of Skulls in the past.
Love Is All You Love keeps things moving for Band of Skulls and that’s the only thing that it was meant to do. It’s not a groundbreaking record for the band or anything like that but it changes up just enough to keep things interesting. It would be preferred if Hayward were back in the band and for them to have a little of their original edge back. That said, this is a decent listen but it doesn’t feature anything overly memorable for a band that has put out that level of material in the past.