Storytelling with edge, notions of the everyday that find solace in imperfection. Life is a Rehearsal and on their new album, Skegss welcome us into the studio.
Skegss have never been ones to reach for solutions, there aren’t any. Too many bands break their backs to find the answers; to love, to change, to reality. But the Byron trio aren’t here for pretensions of any kind.
Instead, Skegss point the lens towards the common denominator and close the shutter. The band’s latest record, Rehearsal, spins this charm into a mission statement.
Skegss stand in solidarity with the everyday, they revel in it. Those pockets of calmness and self-pity that we call youth are just envelopes for a blossoming adulthood, and the rockers know exactly how to break the seal. They always did but Rehearsal sees the band refine and unwind their sound into new dimensions.
From the grunge undertones of Curse My Happiness to the sunny, beer-scented fuzz of Fantasising, this record is a sun-soaked pastiche of garage-rock. No song encapsulates this better than Rehearsal’s opener: Down To Ride. “Let’s pretend like we’ve done this all before, so much wilderness to go and explore. Your imagination is the best recreation. Remove the mask you’re wearing and overcome your fear,” Ben Reed sings over a bruising garage-punk bassline and sunny riffs.
There’s an intoxicating freedom that comes with adolescence and no-one can capture this better than Skegss. A nostalgic intensity dwells at the heart of Bush TV, the record’s ode to Australiana, a sordid reality colours Running from Nothing, while Wake Up offers breathing space within the momentum.
But this isn’t another record built on false promises and unrealistic expectations. These are songs that paint their surroundings with honesty and perspective – even if that perspective isn’t one you want to hear. Skegss have no time or inclination to write music that only pretends to be your friend, ready to patronise anybody and everybody. These songs are for everyone – often painfully honest, unapologetic – and it’s just the way they intended it.
“There’s no way I’m going to jail, there’s no way I’m going to doom. I’m going to my Valhalla, I’ll see you all there soon,” Reed screams on their track of the same name.
Their music isn’t for virtue signalling, it was written to be lived. Bang it, bite it, bruise it. These are the songs that will stand the test of time, documenting the Australian adolescent experience with clarity.
It’s the tale they have told from the start and it never gets old. Only richer with age. After all, stories can’t lose their sheen if they never stop being lived.
Rehearsal is out now via Loma Vista Recordings / Caroline Australia. Grab your copy here.