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Album Review: KUTS by Matt Skiba and the Sekrets

The second album from Matt Skiba and the Sekrets, entitled KUTS will be released on 1st June 2015 via Superball Music.  The Sekrets feature Jarrod Alexander (of A Static Lullabye,) bassist Hunter Burgan (of AFI,) and of course, led by Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio). Produced by Rob Schnapf (who has also worked with Elliott Smith, Beck and the Vines), Skiba says “I went in with really open and stark ideas, knowing that Rob would breathe life into the very vague ideas I had. I had written progressions and lyrics as well as some leads and key parts, but knew that what I was going to come out of that studio with would be completely different than what I walked in with.”

The natural first question is how it compares to Alkaline Trio. A fair question and one we should get out of the way. With Skiba on vocals there’s bound to be similarities, that carries through to the music – it’s like a poppier version of Alkaline Trio. Gone is the sinister edge, replaced with lighter hooks and the odd keyboard. You could still bracket it in the same genre as Alkaline Trio, hell to the untrained hear it could be Alkaline Trio!

KUTS is a cracking album though. Some may say (I would) that anything Skiba touches turns to gold (just look at Blink-182), and there isn’t one weak song amongst the 10 on KUTS. ‘She Wolf’ and ‘Krazy’ are real storming tracks with the latter having a particularly delightful pop hook. The punk energy to ‘She Said’ is infectious and the bassline begs you to dance around the room.

‘I Just Killed To Say I Love You’ is a phenomenal track and could easily sit alongside the best Alkaline Trio tracks. Again the bassline is superb and Skiba’s dark lyrics come to the fore. The piano led ‘Way Bakk When’ is infectious and mature sounding, before ‘Krashing’ and ‘Hemophiliak’ carry on the less punk more refined pop rock theme. The latter is especially good; again the keys lift the track giving it an immediate and contagious quality.

‘Never Believe’ stands out as the best track on KUTS. Haunting and heartfelt, you can feel the raw emotion pulling you in, yet it’s the glorious hook that really suckers you in. It may be lyrically dark, but you cannot help but sing along. Album closer ‘Vienna’ is beautiful and the ideal finish to a superb album.

KUTS is every bit as good as it should be, some may find it hard to not hear Alkaline Trio in the sound, but even with that considered it’s still right up there amongst the best and infectious albums of 2015.

AD Rating 8/10

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