Skull Practitioners - Death Buy 12”In the Red
“Massive slab of debut vinyl by a New York trio whose guitarist, Jason Victor, knows more than a little about the potential of psych-gush overload. In his position as the current guitarist of the Dream Syndicate, one might suppose that, by stepping into shoes formerly occupied by Karl Precoda, Mr. Victor was granted some sort of special legacy connection to the ur-root of string-excess in the post-punk era. But Jason seems to have been blowing the tops of people’s heads off with pure raunch vomona since before he ever met Steve Wynn.
“The Skull Practitioners have been active since 2013, garnering a reputation for bodacious live skronk, although the only graspable evidence of their existence has been a 2014 cassette, which was not widely distributed. Now, with the mighty In The Red empire behind them, only a sucker would think they won’t go far.
“Victor’s explosive guitar shards are the most obvious element of the trio’s sound, but bassist Kenneth Levine can conjure up a throb as thick as Al Feedtime’s, and Alex Baker’s drumming mixes propulsion and motorik circularity with reckless grace. There are only vocals on half the tracks here—Gun Club-seasoned blow-outs called “The Beacon” and “Grey No More”—but I didn’t miss them on their other two tunes. The richness of the band’s psychedelic inventions obviates the need for overt human lingo. The music here communicates on a molecular level.
“Remember when Tim Leary said Peter Walker was ‘playing celestial strings on the DNA of musical being’? It’s the same here. I’ve never heard much of Jason’s studio work (often with pop engines like the Silos or Matthew Sweet), but if he plays this great, I might have to check them out. In the meantime, these four songs will be enough. For me. For you. Even for the late Tim ‘Fuckin’ Leary. C’est la.” —Byron Coley