March 26, 2004

Alien Skull "Goin' 2 Hawaii"

What's in a name? In the case of Alien Skull, not a lot. You shouldn't even think about their name, because that might lead you to believe that Goin' 2 Hawaii would be a sloppy punk record, an even sloppier thrash metal record, a hideous sci-fi loving heavy metal band or some really, really bad techno. Much to my surprise, this mysterious little record--there's no information on who plays on here, except that it's one man with his trusty 4-track and laptop--is anything but sloppy or hideous. Instead, what you'll get on this very brief record is some downcast, sad folk songs a la Elliott Smith, but tempered with an atmosphere only a Grandaddy could love and a weirdness that is all its own. On songs likte "Go Out Into the World" and "So I Could Be Happy," Mr. Alien Skull's voice sweetly sings like a melancholy angel, and then he tempers them with really impresive lo-fi instrumental experiments, such as the heavenly "Shaka Luau" and very pretty "Kava Kava." The best of the bunch is the closing "Goin' To Hawaii/I Want To Stay," because it just sounds so...hopeful. "Why do I feel so high? Because I'm going to Hawaii, and when I get to Hawaii, I'll see you" he sings in a pleading, echo-laden acapella that melds into the beautiful "I Want to Stay," both of which could easily make Jason Lytle AND Will Oldham impressed at their collective inspirational offspring.

I hope you go to his website, and I hope you do everything you can do to get this excellent record in your hands, because you'll be impressed. This is a great record, period.

--Joseph Kyle

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