Matt Skiba and The Sekrets have released their new album, “Kuts”, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Usually when I review an album, I listen to it twice, then I have a pretty decent idea how I feel about it. Not with this one. Even worse, I either love it, or I completely hate it. Is that crazy?
These days, when a veteran rocker releases a new album, I try to look at it from a different perspective. Is it just the same old stuff? Or is it true to its roots, while incorporating something fresh? Is it totally different, and if so, was it a huge mistake? Skiba has always been rather creative and has always continued to evolve his sound. If you are unfamiliar with his other band Alkaline Trio, start off listening to their album, “Maybe I’ll Catch Fire.” Now listen to the album, “My Shame is True”, which was released 13 years later. Its radically different, and with all the albums in between, you can literally hear them evolve slowly over that 13 year period. A truly awesome band to listen to.
After listening to this album twice, I’m not sure if Matt Skiba and The Sekrets have released anything that special here. One review that I read mentioned that the album had the sound of “a band no longer curated by a record executive with no actual idea of what makes good music.” I think this is a bit dramatic.
The first song on the album, “Lonely and Kold,” is surprisingly upbeat, sounding just like the later years of Alkaline Trio. It was a song I went back to and listened to a few times, and probably the best song on the album.
However, as the album progresses, it turns slowly into a very generic version of Heavens, another one of Skiba’s bands which only put out one album in 2006. Heavens was pitched more as a goth album, but every song on the album was humorously memorable. The problem with “Kuts,” is that nothing on the album is memorable. Most of the songs sound like rehashed versions of past songs, blended together to create a monotonous release not worthy of being a conversation starter. Listening to “Never Believe,” I almost found the song title fitting because I actually had a hard time believing this song wasn’t on a past album.
I’m not saying this is a bad album, because it’s not. When you have one of those days where you’re sick of everything in your collection, this is a decent album to listen to. Skiba definitely sticks to his roots with this album, but so much that “Kuts” fails to establish itself as anything more than “just another album.