We’re big fans of Skeltr - they headlined the festival in 2018 and we managed to squeeze in a show with them at the Kanteena before lockdown hit back in March 2020. So we were pretty excited in the (metaphorical) Lancaster Jazz Festival office to check out their new album.
Dorje is a Tibetan word meaning "a ritual weapon symbolising the indestructible properties of a diamond and the irresistible force of a thunderbolt” - which feels like a grand analogy for Craig’s explosive drumming and Sam’s soaring saxophone.
Chief Beef is really uplifting and impossible to keep still while listening - the lyrics are really thoughtful too - about looking within to find happiness and building self resilience maybe? A massive choon - BIG and uplifting.
Braila is very different flavour, a bit dreamy and woozy. There’s some amazing drumming, nice squelchy fat bass sounds, moving through a broad cinematic landscape and building to a crazy uplifting peak.
The spacey dreamy and stretched out hazy soundscape of Siren offers up an amazing vocal addition and Kinkai’s Question features some great spoken word/rapping moments, with a bit of a chilled Thundercat vibe in the chorus.
Fjord builds into a nice frenzy with lots of good zapping noises, sounding quite dark and stormy but also quite hopeful at the same time.
Nesodden went to lots of different places and we kind of spun out listening to this with minds drifting in a totally pleasing way.
Skeltr are great live and manage to successfully navigate the energy of their stage performances to this album. They successfully integrate the mix of live and electronic instruments in a way that you don’t really notice as they forge their unique sonic space.
The album packs a lot in - it runs the line from really dance-y euphoric hands-in-the-air moments to quiet and thoughtful moments while dropping some pretty big musical climaxes along the route. There are sweet and swaggering grooves throughout and loads of thoughtful and interesting jumps and twists in the writing - both musically and sonically.
A great and coherent listen carried along beautifully by “indestructible" drumming and “irresistible” saxophone (we think!).