With their love of rugged riffage and fuzzed-out rawk, it would be easy to dismiss Band of Skulls as simple Queens of the Stone Age wannabes.

In fact, the Southampton trio's new album - their third - is so indebted to bluesy sludge you could treat Himalayan as something simple to get you in the mood for the next Black Keys record.

But Band of Skulls are better than that. Much better. Check out the haunting, chilling thrills of Cold Sweat, which kicks off like a warped Dead Weather song before working itself into a brutal feedback blitz as vocalist Emma Richardson coos softly in the background.

Try the rollicking foot-stompers Asleep at the Wheel and Hoochie Coochie, songs which add stadium-sized grunt to the Skulls' previously limited range. Then there's I Guess I Know You Fairly Well, a stop-start affair that works up to a searing solo that demands repeat plays.


But it's the sizzling guitar attack of I Feel Like Ten Men, Nine Dead and One Dying that really seals the deal: the sort of dust-kicking brilliance that could soundtrack a shoot out in ace Western Deadwood, it's final proof that if you give Band of Skulls the dues they deserve, they'll pay you back in spades.


Persistence pays off for dedicated UK trio

- TimeOut