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It might have come to your notice that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you'll just kinda have to get used to. I will however, now and again, have bursts of creativity and if it was to please the massed hordes, who chose to visit this insignificant page, to supply some input on the direction and type of music you would like to sample (before going out and buying yourself a copy) this little communication will not have been in vain.

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Chant Of The Ever Circling

Skeletal Family's first album Burning Oil is a sort of generic offering from the heyday of early- to mid- '80s British Goth rock. It's not as unrelentingly doomy as the starkest and most uncompromising stuff in the genre and not as accessible to the pop audience as Goth kingpins the Cure and Siouxsie And The Banshees. If you're the kind of listener that's easily annoyed by 1980s Goth-post-punk singers that tend to yelp at the end of their phrases, stay away, since lead singer Anne Marie Hurst boasts one of the most exaggerated vocal tics of that kind. Other trademarks of the style (as much post-punk as avowedly Goth) are here: hurricane-like drumming, creepy echoing guitar lines, and lyrics that milk foreboding out of every situation and observation. The 2001 CD reissue on Anagram adds three early single bonus tracks. One of those, "The Night," actually has the most memorable melody of any song on the disc.

One of the leading bands on the early post-punk/Goth scene, the Skelies formed out of an X Ray Spex influenced outfit the Elements and actually came together under the Skeletal Family name (taken from the “Diamond Dogs” elpee track) when the nascent Goth scene was coalescing in late 1982. They first made their mark with the single “Trees” on their own Luggage label in ‘83 and after that were quickly signed to the York based fledgling indie label Red Rhino, releasing their second single “The Night” later that year.
As part of the mid-80s Leeds Goth scene alongside The Sisters Of Mercy and The March Violets, Skeletal Family’s ’84 debut album Burning Oil was a huge indie hit, reaching number one on the indie charts and staying in the top ten for several months.
It’s clear to see the sound the Skelies began with was heavily reliant on the first two Banshees albums, though there were a few other influences to broaden things out a little. For instance, lead singer Anne Marie Hurst occasionally let loose oddball squawks a bit like Lene Lovich (who she was a fan of) and “Ritual” has a chugging Wilko Johnson style guitar underneath the pan-stick trappings. All things taken into consideration, “Burning Oil” isn’t a bad record at all, given the timeframe. There’s a bit too much flat sounding bass which will always sum up the sound of early Goth, but when the band fly on the faster numbers you don’t really notice it too much.

Ripped from the 2001 Captain Goth reissue to MP3 @ 320kbps

Skeletal Family; Burning Oil

1.     So Sure
2.     Ritual
3.     Burning Oil
4.     The Wind Blows
5.     And I
6.     11:15
7.     Waiting Here
8.     Someone New
9.     Black Ju Ju
10. Woman And Child
11. Trees (Single A Side)
12. Just A Friend (Single B Side)
13.The Night (Single A Side)