Aaron Skiles – Whistle Past the Grave
This is a bit more raw-edged – taking a more rootsy rock tone than a traditional one. Think Steve Earle showering with The Dictators. “Rubber Raft,” is constructed quite well as a compelling rocker. It just doesn’t let loose without some thought behind the destination.
Fortunately, though Skiles is emersed in a primitive style garage-basement type of rock n’ roll hybrid the songs are arranged which most raw bands often forget to attempt & just wail away with no rhyme or reason. This at least has substance & never loses its gnarly spirit. There’s action in many of these songs but Aaron also adds the necessary ballad drenched in chords & it works quite well when suddenly on “About You,” a female lead vocal squeezes through which colorizes the excellent tune. It’s brief, but it does what it has to…keeping the momentum solid.
Skiles also takes the time to write intelligent lyrics to these well-fueled pieces. The raw immediacy of many of these compositions never suffers for lack of heat in its purity. These are good rockers. If in the hands of an amateur, they would’ve been bald tires, but each song here rolls along like new steel belted radials on a gravel road.
The 22-minute CD was produced by Aaron (vocals/guitars/bass/piano/keys/percussion) & Ben Bernstein (drums/percussion/bgv/guitars/keys/bass). Mixed & Mastered by Colin Christian. The 8-tracks on Whistle Past the Grave (Drops Sept 15–Dr. Sam G Records) also feature Taylor Hollingsworth (lead guitar), Rebecca Skiles (vocals), Alex Hillmer (lead guitar on “Before Before”), Dermot Erwin (lead guitars on “Ain’t Been Luck”) & David Rabkin (drums on “Ain’t Been Luck”).
The lead guitars on “Before Before” & “Bad For You” are like a banshees & it’s beautiful. The Clash may have come from England but the music they played was American garage-inspired. It’s not done any better today than by the informal purity of Aaron Skiles & his diehard musicians’ efforts.
Tunes like “Whistle Past the Grave,” slide across the ears like a vintage Pogues or Great Big Sea song. They just needed to add a maniacal accordion or chicken-neck twisting fiddle to elevate it from great to exceptional.
Highlights – “Rubber Raft,” “About You,” “Ain’t Been Luck,” “Before Before,” “Bad For You” & “Whistle Past the Grave.”
B&W image courtesy of Aaron’s website. CD @ https://aaronskilesmusic.com/
Enjoy our previous coverage here: REVIEW: Aaron Skiles “Wreckage From The Fire”