After touring extensively with Alkaline Trio, filling in on vocal duty for Blink-182 and writing and releasing a new album, it’s fair to say that Matt Skiba has had a pretty eventful year so far. ‘Kuts’ is the second full-length album from Skiba’s solo project, successfully fusing an influence of classic punk with a touch of 80s synth pop and new wave.
‘Kuts’ heavily contrasts from the project’s debut album ‘Babylon’, adopting a far more melancholic and reflective tone. The LP is extremely personal and honest, with many of the lyrics reflecting on past romantic struggles. ‘Way Bakk When’ is consistent with this lyrical theme, “It’s time that I broke it to you / I never told you the truth / Now I’m nothing but lonely like I’ve always been”.
Lead single ‘Krazy’ was released to fans earlier this year, and received an incredibly warm reception. The track was a fitting introduction to the album, oozing Skiba‘s lyrical mastery and harnessing one the record’s most infectious choruses. It also reveals Skiba‘s baffling inability to differentiate between the letters C and K.
‘I Just Killed To Say I Love You’ and ‘Krashing’ emit a heavy likeness to The Cure, through shimmering synths and desolate vocals. ‘Lonely And Kold’ and ‘She Said’ instead pack a heavy dose of punk rock energy, and see Skiba in familiar territory. Although the album alternates between these different genres, it fails to feel sloppy or inconsistent, never jittering too far from its excellent opener.
It’s when the album hits closing tracks ‘Never Believe’ and ‘Vienna’ that it loses its stride, adopting a drab tone and a more stagnant sense of pace. Although these tracks aren’t necessarily bad, they botch the record’s fluidity and deprive it of a memorable finish.
Even in the middle of his extremely busy schedule, Matt Skiba has delivered a dexterous effort compiling influences from his vast number of previous projects. ‘Kuts’ may not be perfect, but succeeds in pushing the boundaries and escaping predictability.
Written by Kieran Harris