Live Skull are a group that came out of the 80s no wave scene in New York City alongside the likes of Sonic Youth and Swans. Since then, they’ve switched line-ups several times, and went on extended hiatus in 1990. But band leader Mark C decided to reconvene Live Skull in a new iteration in 2016 for some live performances, followed by an album last year, and now they’re coming out with another new album called Dangerous Visions, which will land on December 11.
The new record features a bunch of new tracks as well as some old recordings, including four tracks from their previously unreleased 1989 Peel Session. However, the first song to be shared is the album opener, “In A Perfect World”, which could only have been written in 2020. Mark C says:
“[It was written during] the darkest moment of the [COVID-19] shutdown in NYC… I sat in the dark…and dreamed of a more perfect world to replace the damaged one we lived in. But, as gritty guitar sounds and the incessant beat of the drum and bass line charged forward, I knew we belonged to this world of struggle and chaos.”
Sirens are the first thing heard on “In A Perfect World”, immediately attuning us to the fraught environment that Live Skull are transmitting from. The guitar comes searing through afterwards, buffeting a path for Mark C’s paranoid and terrified lyrics about wanting to escape and refusing to participate. A luminous synth makes its way into the mix, but rather than lighten the mood, it has the effect of being a spotlight scanning across the wreckage that Live Skull are observing, making the destruction all around unavoidable.