With Anneka Latta, arguably the strongest singer they have ever had, especially live, “Light From The Dark” is the 6th studio album from the hugely influential Post-Punk/Gothic band Skeletal Family.
A 10 track, dare I say, masterpiece that stands very comfortably alongside their impressive back-catalogue, written at Paul Weller’s Back Barn Studios over a 2 year period from 2020 – 2022, largely by Stan Greenwood & Roger “Trotwood” Nowell, the original songwriting partnership responsible for the well known early “hits”, it is led by the singles “Cry Baby”, “My Own Redemption” and in particular “Beautiful Disaster”.
People may be forgiven for thinking that there might have been a huge directional change afoot for a band looking to regain the successes of their earlier career, success which saw them continuously topping the alternative charts and even being courted by major label Chrysalis Records for a top 40 presence, but that is not so.
With the return & subsequent 2nd departure of ever popular original singer Anne-Marie Hurst, who has gone on to reform Ghost Dance, longtime fans might have been left wondering how or if they could continue with yet another singer, a question I know the band asked themselves on many an occasion, but with this new album continue they have… in leaps & bounds!
Let’s be honest, when you are good at what you do and have been imitated by many over the years, why would you break the mould? On this album they haven’t lost what made them special but, just as equally, they haven’t tried to recreate it. Anneka Latta has taken their signature sound and made it her own. She is very capable of breathing fresh life into what should elevate them back to their past success, she has a fantastic range and a beautiful tone to her voice.
Opening track and first single is “Cry Baby”, instantly recognisable signature guitar, an unmistakable Skeletal Family singalong.
“Edge Of A Dream” Stan, the goth Duane Eddy, transports you back to the early 80’s with a song that is reminiscent of the slowdown section in “Black JuJu”, dark and brooding, this could be a new one that gets their fans sitting on the floor again just like the old days!!
“Brewing Up A Storm” a touch of Julianne Regan-esque harmonisations in the chorus vocal, this one is guaranteed to ensue cob-web cleaning dance moves on any goth club night.
“What Are You Waiting For?” Throbbing bass intro, a slow starter that builds into a chorus that makes you want to sing-along, this one is sure to become a live fan favourite I reckon.
“Beautiful Disaster” A slower starting electronica departure from their usual sound with a hint of Stevie Nicks in the vocal delivery, but it’s an earworm in its own right that is hard to forget.. and far from a disaster!
“New Horizon” Cast nostalgia aside indeed, it’s not Promised Land but it has that similar hook we know and love, a toe-tapper of the highest order! This shows the well is far from dry as it could have been on any of the previous “hit” albums.
“All The Same To Me” Courtesy of Adrian “Ozzy” Osadzenko a drumstick twirling foray that shows in the slower tempo songs they know how to build up to a crescendo building pictures in the mind that tell the story… love this one!
“Glorious” A bitter sweet rumbler this one, touches of acoustic guitar in the chorus, it is in fact glorious!
“Enough Is Enough” Interesting keyboards that really fit being back in the band courtesy of returning original member Karl-Heinz “Spud” Taylor, they really can write a catchy chorus, I dare you not to sing along to this one.
“My Own Redemption” Not their redemption but quite possibly their resurrection. A brave choice as a single, I think this proves there are many strings on the new bow. A great way to close a triumphant return of Skeletal Family.
After a full-house headline show at Wave Gothik Treffen this year you can catch them playing live on 14th July at Boom, Leeds (Part of Goth City 7 Festival) & 8th September at Alhambra Theatre, Morecambe (Bats In The Attic Festival)
Review By: AzInblack