The other day I was clicking around Bandcamp looking for my new favourite band and I came across some artwork that caught my eye. It reminded me off the Ramones logo, with the names of the band members circling a crest logo. After a little research (clicking on the album cover) I discovered they are a pop punk band from Norway called The Skullingtons and they have recently released a new EP titled First Blood.
The first song on First Blood is called Phantom Limb and instantly it reminded me of the most important band ever - The Ramones. Musically the track is kept simple and fast, never daring to get too complicated. The punchy way in which the vocals are delivered also screams Ramones-core pop punk but there is a lot more snot and venom in the sound of these vocals than Joey Ramone ever gave us. Second track Highschool Of The Dead has more of a Screeching Weasel vibe to it. Like every good pop punk release lately you need a song about zombies and this is The Skullingtons’ attempt that tells the story of trying to survive a zombie attack at a highschool. Another simple song, but brilliantly catchy with some classic whoa-oh moments. The third song, Little Sister, sees The Skullingtons switch styles to that of another legendary pop punk band: The Queers. It has always been said that The Queers were the masters of combining The Ramones fast pop punk with the Beach Boys harmonies and this is the sound The Skullingtons have gone for on Little Sister.
She Could Be The One is a ridiculously fun and catchy song. It's super repetitive with every line of the first three verses stating "She Could Be The One For Me" before changing the words in the final verse to "So Let Her Be." Clearly this isn't lyrically the greatest song ever written, but try not smiling when you hear the song; go on, I dare you. On the fifth song, Tokyo, the pace is upped a lot and some aggression enters lead singer Johnny Skullington's voice. This is my favourite song on First Blood; I enjoy fast paced, aggressive pop punk and Tokyo really fits that bill. The final song on the EP is called Cali Nova. Again The Skullingtons are never going to win any songwriting awards for this song, which is about asking porn star Cali Nova (no idea whether or not she's fictional or not and I'm too scared to ask Google!) to come round and play bumpy cuddles (I'm far too sweet and innocent to write what The Skullingtons are actually suggesting they do). Despite its crudeness it's another fun, pop punk jam that will remain in your head for a long time.
For a first release this is a very strong effort by The Skullingtons. My only gripe with the EP it that it feels like The Skullingtons haven't yet found their own sound so are channelling their heroes. That being said I will never tire of hearing songs that sound like they could be by The Ramones, Screeching Weasel or The Queers so until they do settle on a style I'm happy for them to keep doing what they’re doing.
Stream and buy First Blood here: https://theskullingtons.bandcamp.com/album/first-blood
Like The Skullingtons here: https://www.facebook.com/theskullingtons