Review: Skitzo Calypso - Between the Lines and Beyond the Static
Label: Bi-Polar Records
Between the Lines and Beyond the Static is a solid rock album. It has riffy guitars, crunching rhythms and vocals with nice range and movement. The production is crisp and clean and brings out the best in the band's abilities. This largely straightforward hard rock album is heavy, but not too heavy and polished, but not without feeling. They apply the standard formula for the genre very well and that's both their strength and their weakness.
The songwriting and production both play into this. There's nothing technically wrong with either, but the result is a collection of songs that are memorable more because, in a sense, you already know them than because they're instantly captivating. While this is the eighth album under the name Skitzo Calypso, it's only the second with the full band and the first to be a truly collaborative effort. The result of working together seems to have tempered their creativity rather than expanded it. Perhaps they're just getting the feel of their common direction, but their first shot at it seems to be something along the lines of Bang Tango meets Alice in Chains meets Godsmack meets System of a Down. Occasionally, an inkling of goth insinuates itself into the music and that is, despite it being goth, hopeful. "Hello Mother, Hello Father" even finds the band moving beyond the formulas and into more organic territory. The lyrics are also a saving grace. Their peculiar subjects and interesting imagery are refreshing in a hard rock context where we usually get nothing but misogyny and insobriety.
Skitzo Calypso still has a way to go in order to establish something that is truly their own, but they have the technical ability once they find their direction together. They've established that they have solid skills and now they need to free those skills in order to unlock their power. When the music does stray from the standard, they appear ready to fly and the lyrics display an interest in being rather skewed, but too often this album feels planned and hesitant. They have every possibility of breaking out if they use their new collaborative to spin free of the hard rock center of gravity.
Check out the Myspace review of Skitzo Calypso side-project Niki Thunders and the Temperamentals.