For those who’ve been paying attention to Band Of Skulls’ work to date, there’ll be nothing surprising about album number three. ‘Himalayan’ tracks a similar blues-rock template to that followed on their earlier records: plenty of crunch, plenty of grind, lots of swinging hair and the odd moment of introspection.
It could be a recipe for a plod through something formulaic. Thankfully, ‘Himalayan’ doesn’t come over like that. Although, it is not a record that requires overthinking.
Indeed, overthinking could lead to problems. Overthinking could require pontification upon the title of ‘I Feel Like Ten Men, Nine Dead And One Dying’. A tumble into questions over exactly where the accentuation should fall and therefore exactly what the meaning is, a debate over the word ‘feel’ that hasn’t raged with such vigour since Shania Twain’s ‘Man, I Feel Like A Woman’, rather than simply basking in the swirling verses and the fantastically sludgy Sabbath riffs.
That would be a tragedy. As would missing out on ‘Cold Sweat’, which is going to be the most convincing Bond theme of the year unless Shirley Bassey perfects time travel and convinces Adele to go back and get one more score out of John Barry, or failing to experience the galloping drama of ‘Toreador’, or neglecting the opportunity to sway your hips to the boogie-woogie strut of ‘Hoochie Coochie’.
The other thing which helps Himalayan no end - something that is shared with Josh Homme’s various exploits - is it never comes off as dunderheadedly macho. So while it kicks hard, there’s also a finesse and subtlety on display that helps to elevates it further. ‘Himalyan’ is loud, raucous, massive amounts of fun and it has style, swagger and teeth. And in the world of rock’n’roll bingo, that’s pretty much a full house.