Matt Skiba and the Sekrets – KUTS

Superball Music – Release Date: 6/02/15

For their second album, Matt Skiba and the Sekrets forgo the melodic punk influences that dominated their first record in favor of power pop and ‘80s synthesizers. And that makes sense, as their first effort was comprised of leftover song ideas from Alkaline Trio, (Skiba’s primary band). This time around, Skiba wrote specifically for the Sekrets, and once again enlisted bassist Hunter Burgan, (AFI) and drummer Jarrod Alexander, (My Chemical Romance). The result is a much more collaborative album that’s brought to life with great success by producer Rob Schnapf. The record kicks off with “Lonely and Kold,” a radio-ready song that evokes hints of The Cure and is propelled by a catchy guitar lead courtesy of Schnapf. Skiba’s voice sounds clear and confident as he sings about breaking old habits and moving on to better things, a theme that emerges several times throughout the album. “She Wolf” comes next and it’s a danceable, Bowie-like tune that’s loaded with keyboards, vocal effects and the masterful bass playing of Burgan. “Krashing” is another prominent entry and features a layered arrangement, creative drumming and a memorable, monster hook. The record concludes nicely with the vulnerable, piano-laced track “Never Believe” and the nostalgic, atmospheric charm of “Vienna.” KUTS is a cohesive, listenable album that’s both inspired and well-written. Longtime fans of Skiba’s work are sure to enjoy this, as are those interested in hearing him effectively experiment with synthesizer-driven rock.