Review: Ian Skelly – Cut From a Star
Published on January 21st, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Ian Skelly is no longer merely the drummer of The Coral but, thanks to his splendid debut solo album Cut From a Star, a fully-fledged songwriting talent in his own right. Oh, and an understatedly nifty singer to boot, at least on such dreamy terrain as this.
That the LP was inspired by “a dream/hallucination Skelly had while suffering with severe fever in 2009” is immediately evidenced by the vintage psychedelic pop production of the opening title track, complete with Brian Wilson-y pangs, twiddly “I Am the Walrus” cello, star-gazing minor-key-dom and sweet female backing vocals. The further you venture inwards, the more ’60s/’70s spotter’s badge elements float past – an organ here, some electronic whirring sounds there – but these aren’t dwelt or relied upon to complete the overall effect so much as granted a diverting procession of cameos amidst the prevailing sense of wonder.
The Floydian “Paper Sky” is magnificent stuff, Skelly’s voice reminding slightly of Cian Ciaran‘s, while the huffing ‘n’ tooting soft drama of “Nickel and Dime” builds into something quite stirring from its twinkling harpsichord, droning tambura and such charming lyrical turns as “I called the bluff of the boy who cried wolf”. There’s definitely something of Love and The Zombies about this, maybe even a wee bit of Simon and Garfunkel too.
“D.N.A.” places a great cascading electric piano riff amidst its grand melancholy, “Time” aligns a ‘cosmic Scouser’ sensibility to Forever Changes-y guitar, while the exquisite doom-folk of “Caterpillar” features a brief interjection from a steam train…and it’s thoughtful little touches like these that stave off the saminess such devotion to ornate, echo chamber psych-folk might’ve resulted in.
Although it gets a little bit too stuck in its ways to truly dazzle, Cut From a Star is a classy and sophisticated affair that leads Rocksucker to wonder what the other Coral boys might be hiding up their sleeves.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!
Cut From a Star is out now on Watertown Records. For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/IanSkellyMusic