Skeletons with Flesh on Them
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Skeletons with Flesh on Them

Seattle, Washington, United States

Seattle, Washington, United States
Band Rock Pop


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Skeletons with Flesh on Them @ Crocodile

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

Skeletons with Flesh on Them @ Chop Suey

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

Skeletons with Flesh on Them @ Sunset Tavern

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

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A thrilling confluence of The Fruit Bats, The Beautiful South and Pavement, Skeletons With Flesh On Them sound like the house band on an indie rock cruise, playing artful and careening pop against the rippling waves. Led by singer Scott Roots, every number on the Seattle outfit's debut album All The Other Animals is engaging and imaginative. "Same Moon" manages a perfect undulating pop sway; "Ten Times" is a pulsing blast of twitchy new wave and the more than slightly menacing "Take Me Down," which finds Roots confessing, "I've been peeking through your window," registers a dark suburban prowl.

Skeletons With Flesh On Them

Refreshingly, this is a band that seems to thrive on disorder; on a lets-get-lost aural attack that operates in its own spacey and blissful realm. The thirteen tracks here come across like pop songs from the moon, canting gems that are weightless and nimble. "You say I could be from outer space," Roots sings knowingly. A sentiment he follows with, "Well, where else could we be from?"

Throughout All The Other Animals, trumpets wander in and vanish, banjos burst out of nowhere and trombones arrive unannounced, making their cameos and slipping back into the rich layers of the composition. In the course of a song, Skeletons With Flesh On Them are not afraid to build something up and then break it right down, start something new only to abandon it seconds later or introduce a new idea on top of an old one and then turn them both into something you can't resist following.

Skeletons With Flesh On Them

Elsewhere, "Factory Sound" is a busking, workingman's shuffle and "Longer Chain" is as ebullient as it is ghostly, with Roots declaring, "We're not dead yet but/We're stiff with the effort." Meanwhile, the brooding lullaby "Because The Town Is Sleeping" crystallizes the curse of the suburbs: "More and more we feel the boundaries/Between ourselves, between each other."

Lively, innovative and wholly original, All The Other Animals may very well be the best debut of the year.

-Alex Green - Caught in the Carousel Magazine

Given their creepy-sounding name, Seattle-based quartet Skeletons With Flesh on Them should be churning out thrashing death metal. Except the band's music is quite the opposite of the images its name may imply. These skeletons spent the past three years crafting an impressive brand of finely tuned power pop, and their hard work paid off with their freshly released LP, All the Other Animals.

The band's debut full-length, and only their second release to date (after 2007's The Fish Don't Mind EP), Animals is a well-rounded effort that shows considerable potential and artistic range: You've got your uptempo pop ("Ten Times"), guitar-driven rock ("Power Cords"), and mellower ballads ("Squinting Towards the Light"). Although singer Scott Roots' delivery is closer to Ben Folds than to Isaac Brock, the jangly guitars and barking vocals of "Not What We're Designed For" could almost pass for a Modest Mouse B-side. His lyrics often find him in dark places; the crawling "Longer Chain" opens with "We're not dead, but we're sure trying," yet the band's diverse instrumentation makes that morose mindset an afterthought. The record's 13 tracks are littered with interesting instrumental choices ranging from saxophone and piano to trumpet, glockenspiel, and singing saw. Although the latter two instruments get cool points, it's the horns that are most impressive, bringing depth to the title track and to the quirky "Closed Systems."

Although sonically SWFoT has recognizable influences, the band carries an identity and songwriting tone of its own. Once they fully embrace these, they'll have an even better foundation for adding fresh entries to the canon of local rock. TRAVIS HAY - Seattle Weekly

“I'm about to sell five copies of All the Other Animals by Skeletons with Flesh on Them.” I can totally picture some chap that works at an independent record store in the Pacific Northwest reinventing the famous scene from High Fidelity in this manner - likely his favorite film - to ‘suade customers into purchasing this album. And if said fellow isn't, he damn well should be.

Skeletons with Flesh on Them's debut EP, 2007's The Fish Don't Mind, was a release that I didn't see coming. But in spite of that I was greatly appreciative of what I heard on that six-song EP. Two years since its release and after six months in the studio Skeletons with Flesh on Them has produced their first full-length effort, All the Other Animals.

The band's first full-length picks up with a style that the band knows well: infectious pop-accented indie rock. “Same Moon” kickstarts the album with an upbeat and jangley guitar rock number. It's got a Pinkertonera Weezer meets …Trail of Dead mixture going on. It's the perfect introduction to the band's new album. “Ten Times” follows and it's a playful pop-rock number anchored by the guitar playing of Neal Flaherty and Scott Roots. Like many of the songs on the album it is accented with additional instrumentation - this one boasts some gentle piano keys.

Matched with the music are the diverse vocals of Roots. He jumps back and forth from melodic harmonies, soft melodies, and the occasional shouts. I often found myself referencing Sloan's Chris Murphy as I listened. His vocals are matched with backing harmonies from the rest of the group, giving the album added depth and thus avoiding thinness that plague many artists' recordings.

After repeated listens I find that Skeletons with Flesh on Them are at their best when they pull out all the stops. “Take Me Down' is a prime example of this. It's got the quirky vibe that I've come to enjoy from the group, always throwing you a curve. There are equal parts indie rock chill and Seattle grunge angst interspersed. This is definitely one of the standout tracks of All the Other Animals. “Closed System” is another of the songs that I found especially enjoyable. The band's incorporation of horns, banjo, and saxophone in addition to their standard instrumentation add a whole other listening experience to the song.

“Trail of Destruction” and “Longer Chain” demonstrate the band's tendencies towards the alt-country brand that was hinted at on the band's previous offering. There's a slight twang in the vocals of Roots, which matches the guitars and what sounds like a little hint of banjo in the background (I could be wrong though).

“Factory Song” is an acoustic sing-along song that bears a vague resemblance to the song from the end of Juno, you know the one by Moldy Peaches. “Squinting Towards the Light” is a bit of sleeper; I found it to be a bit of a moot point in the placement of the album. Perhaps if the band did an acoustic set it could work better, but I prefer the band plugged in.

The obvious comparison that most will make with Skeletons with Flesh on Them is towards Modest Mouse. And while those similarities are still present, the band has attempted to distance themselves from the copycat label with a varied affair on their debut full-length. Nevertheless, lovers of the Modest Mouse sound are going to enjoy this album, particularly the track “Not What We're Designed For.”

I'm rather perplexed at the fact that this album had to be self-released as it is a rather outstanding release. Then again, perhaps they've decided the music business isn't worth fussing around with… or maybe not. Either way, Skeletons with Flesh on Them have offered a fantastic album for lovers of indie rock to enjoy.

-Michael Phillips - Scene Point Blank

I've loved Skeletons with Flesh on Them for years, but I've never written about them because they're one of the only bands in town of which I'm an out-and-out fan. Their lyrics are literary, and not in a show-offy "let's use a bunch of multisyllabicwords!" Decemberists kind of way. They're not afraid to rock in different styles—"Power Cords" could be a Violent Femmes song, and "All the Other Animals" could easily be a Springsteen cover—and they come across as totally earnest, which is a rare, joyous thing in this town. I'm a huge fan. What can I say? PAUL CONSTANT - The Stranger

The band is called Skeletons with Flesh On Them; you won't forget that name. Four guys-Neal, Scott, Devon and Lucas-have written and produced some of the best melodic chamber rock I've ever heard. Thirteen tracks that individually stand on their own and collectively make one awesome full-length. There is no musical justice if this band doesn't get the recognition they deserve for this release. The CD is called All The Other Animals, and it really needs to be in your music collection. Highly recommended.
- Local Vertical

Despite a moniker that triggers thoughts of black T-shirts with unreadable logos, corpse paint, and artwork from Vince Locke, Skeletons with Flesh on Them are not—in fact—a metal band. Instead, this Seattle quartet are a quirky indie ensemble with a singer that bridges the (narrow) gap between the wordplay of Colin Meloy, the oozing sentimentalism of Ben Gibbard, and the goofiness of Gordon Gano. For a self-released debut, All the Other Animals sounds lovely, a sincere display of winding melodies and whipsmart lyrics that could challenge BOAT for the crown of best pop act in Seattle. EAC - The Portland Mercury

Lose the drama for one damn night. Learn to enjoy yourself. Life doesn’t have to be an ever-ready emotional roller coaster all the time. Have some fun for once. Throw in Skeletons with Flesh On Them’s debut album All The Other Animals and prepare yourself for good time Seattle pop rock. Of course it wouldn’t be fitting to be entirely positive. Hell, Richard Simmons was bulimic and John Edwards needed a mistress. And they always seemed to be happy and optimistic. Let’s keep it real.

There is no specific theme to All The Other Animals, and there really shouldn’t be one. You can expect vibrant and expansive songs degrading common-ground fears that so many other artists are afraid to face. “Power Cords” dabbles in punk and ska, but mostly in an eat shit hipsters, learn to love mentality that is very necessary these days. Their title track is a Ben Gibbard sings Third Eye Blind sort of adaptation to 2009 rather than 1996, where a band like Skeletons would have been in every teen flick Kevin Smith made in that prolific decade.

Animals is easily one of the best debut full lengths album a band could ever think to make. It also could be an instructional manual for any band looking to break out as far as recordings may be concerned. It is very good, yet you may get the feeling that even this album isn’t the very best these guys could pull off. And that is a very inspiring way to think after hearing such a spectacular record. RON TREMBATH - Fensepost

Skeletons With Flesh On Them is surprisingly fun, spirited rock and roll, and has no pretensions or desires to be anything else. In an age where bands feel forced to break genre conventions and be something more than just a good band, this group’s down to earth, grassroots approach is refreshing and sorely needed.

All The Other Animals is a little Margot and The Nuclear So and So’s, a little Caspar and The Cookies, a chunk of Weezer, and a smidgen of Death Cab For Cutie. It’s an earnest record that’s all smiles and heart, and belongs in the collection of anyone whose a fan of two or more of the bands above. It’s totally uplifting, with syrupy melodies and some real bite to the guitars. But ultimately, it lacks ambition. It’s one thing to flip a giant middle finger at the avant garde and the freak folk and the Afro-Cuban Columbia grad studentcore scenes by releasing a simple, good natured rock and roll record, but it’s another thing to sound flimsy and lacking by the second half. Good rock and roll is chunky, visceral, and sharp—at their best, Skeletons With Flesh On Them achieve this, with its own unique brand of quirkiness and light hearted charm. At its worst, the band just sounds washed out—a jumbled, weak mess of noodley chords and paper-thin vocals. At its most worst, all of it just sounds the same—the death knell of any band willing to triumphantly stick to formula.

I get what Skeletons With Flesh On Them is trying to do, and I appreciate it. Fuck being different—what matters is being good, and doing what you love to do, right. Do they succeed? Not totally. Is All The Other Animals a good listen? Absolutely.

MATT COHEN - Delusions of Adequacy

Have you listened to Skeletons with Flesh on Them's latest record, All the Other Animals, yet? Have you!? I've told you over and over... what are you waiting for? I mean, I'd understand if you're a little hesitant. I once told you to like that melodramatic tween crap band Say Anything (I stand by their first record!). But trust me on this one! All the Other Animals is a sonic gem, beaming with fun pop tracks perfect for summer days. It's all playful and bright, it's got humor à la They Might Be Giants, but it's also got a menagerie of instruments and harmonies that fans of BOAT would appreciate. I love them and you should, too, and I won't stop saying so until you finally listen. MEGAN SELING - The Stranger

The latest record by Skeletons with Flesh on Them, All the Other Animals, is another footnote in the growing legacy of soft-hearted indie pop. SWFOT singer Scott Roots delivers a raw vocal performance, prominently placed in the front of the mix. Roots sings with angst and sorrow to moderate degrees of success, but the delivery can be confounding at times; reverb and other effects modulate his singing at unexpected moments, doing more to distract rather than emote. On the whole, Skeletons write maudlin, melodic songs, like a younger Harvey Danger doing chamber rock.

All the Other Animals muddles along the first several tracks before reaching the rowdy and irresistible "Power Cords". They take a more straight-forward approach sonically on this song, lacing it with energetic hooks that will keep listeners bouncing. Throughout the record, SWFOT round out the sound of their music with different orchestral arrangements and vocal harmonies. The band crafts heavy theatrical drama into the record, similar to what Colin Meloy does with the Decemberists. Unlike their contemporaries, Scott Roots weaves his melancholy into the songs without encumbering the grooves with imaginary characters and lyrical props. Skeletons with Flesh on Them muse about heartbreak and the honesty of the human experience rather than directly engaging the topics at length; the end result is an indie rock record that's shaded, instead of colored with any singular identity.

All the Other Animals stands well with other power pop-influenced indie rock, but it is less than convincing when it comes to a defining itself from others. As Death Cab For Cutie, the Decemberists, and other 2000's era indie rockers move on to major labels and more commercial sounds, a vacuum is presented for young indie rock bands to burst into the spotlight. The Skeletons show promise with the ideas they've presented here; a later record could leave a more distinct mark on the space they presume to fill. - Redefine Magazine


In 2009, Skeletons with Flesh on Them played 12 shows in Seattle, including Fremont Oktoberfest, the Noise for the Needy Benefit, and the Three Imaginary Girls Holiday Party. They spent two weeks on tour down the West Coast and their debut LP was put into rotation on KEXP.



Skeletons With Flesh On Them are a four-piece indie-rock group from Seattle, WA consisting of Scott Roots (vocals, guitar), Neal Flaherty (guitar), Adam Grant (bass), and Devon Stewart (drums, backing vocals). Skeletons formed in late 2005 when Scott and Neal met through a mutual friend. Devon joined shortly thereafter following a posting in The Stranger. Adam replaced original bassist Lucas Smith in 2009. In 2007, Skeletons recorded a six song EP, The Fish Don’t Mind, with the help of Jared Fiechtner (producer) and Jeremy Park (engineer). The same team worked together on their first LP, All the Other Animals, released in 2009.