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Skeleton Crew - Learn to Talk CD (album) cover


Skeleton Crew



3.17 | 15 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

While Chris Cutler was busy with News From Babel with Lindsey Cooper, Fred Frith (guitars, piano, violin) got involved in Skeleton Crew, who was supposed to be a quartet but ended up as a duo with American Tom Cora (cello, bass drums), both deciding to become one man bands on Learn To Talk. On the later (and final) Country Of Blinds album, they will be joined by Zeena Parkins (keys, harp, accordion) who was previously in News From Babel.

On the scale of bizarreness, SC was certainly similar to a 9 on the Richter scale, and this is fitting because listening to LTT usually leaves your brains in the state of an Earth tremor with few chances of building something back. If some tracks are rather accessible (title track, Factory Song), a lot of them are close to pure nonsense. Sonically, I guess the closest you could come up with would be the 80's Crimson, based on the singing strongly reminiscent of Belew, but also the guitar parts which can sound like a Chapman stick. Some tracks are very ethnic-sounding (Zac's Flag), while others (the intro of the opening Onwards And Upwards) are sickly-sounding (vocals barking like Damo Suzuki, but not at ease) and completely disjointed.

Not exactly something that can be put in anyone's disc player for dear of permanent damage. Skeleton Crew toured as a trio with Muffin's Dave Newhouse on sax and apparently they were quite a sight live, but this did not materialized in terms of recording.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |


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