In many ways, New York band Live Skull are in a strange position: something of a cult classic. Formed in 1982 by Mark C and Tom Paine, they never quite reached the heights of peers like Sonic Youth or Husker Du, but were still considered massively influential to the next generation: Pixies, Mudhoney, Nirvana
and so on. They still are, and with good reason – they never compromised, nor softened their sound to fit the mainstream playlist culture.

Over forty years later, their urgency is still there, sharpened by a strong political focus, and a new guitarist in Dave Hollinghurst. Opener Magic Consciousness goes in all guns blazing, putting conspiracy theorists and complacency under the microscope.

In contrast, Turn Up The Static is like a dissociated incantation, and Hit So Hard introspective and almost melancholic, wary and punch-drunk like a bruised pugilist. The sense of pushing back, of railing against injustice but feeling that human rights are being eroded permeates throughout the album, something many may be feeling right now.

It’s all purposeful and oppositional, with real fire. Psychedelia and punk influences, which have always been enmeshed in their sound, remain to the fore. Thematically, after all these years, the concerns are still the same (the rise of right-wing parties, poverty and inequality, gun violence, war) even if the main
players change. Plus ca change, you might say.