If dedication really is what you need if you want to be the best, it’s no wonder that the Popical Island collective have risen to such exalted status in a short space of time. Joining the community of like minded musicians seems akin to becoming part of a cult, rejecting family and friends in the name of constantly inventive alternative pop music. Thus when Pádraig Cooney from Land Lovers found himself laid up at home following an operation what else would he do but write an album and who else would he get to record it than members of Grand Pocket Orchestra, We Are Losers, Groom, Gimmels and No Monster Club. Yet to pin Skelocrats as some sort of PI supergroup is a disservice. Instead they’re band with genuine chemistry who have produced one of the best releases to emerge from this fertile breeding ground.
The aim of the project was to produce scuzzy, grotty pop music and blow us down if they haven’t done just that. The combination of lo-fi production, fuzzy guitars and sixties beats will come as no surprise, yet nor will be the quality of the material. Perhaps the key element is the four way vocal approach, ensuring that the record enjoys a subtle change in character throughout and enhances the sense that this is a real outfit as opposed to a side project. As the only female voice involved it’s Bronwyn Murphy-White who stands out, switching from the Liz Phair downbeat delivery of ‘Be My Double’ to a rich croon on ‘Death To All Who Speak Against Me’. This ability to multi task is representative of the EP as a whole, a work that bears the input of different personalities yet hangs together beautifully. So don’t let any of Whip Crack Away’s coming about – the ad hoc nature of its arrival, the free release via Bandcamp, the seeming simplicity of the music – convince that this is something you can let slip by. Skelocrats may just prove to be the best thing this loveable gang has produced to date.