It’s nearly impossible to follow the piece advice that forms the title of Toronto party punk band the Skullians second album, Don’t Take It To Heart; after a few spins I found a deep affection taking root for this brash, obstinate and defiantly upbeat record. Don’t Take It To Heart is a textbook improvement over their debut effort, Pure, in almost every way. While Pure succeeded by virtue of its riotous energy and cheeky, Toronto-centric tunes, Don’t Take It To Heart pushes much further. At 32 minutes, the record gives itself more time to develop, to stretch it’s beer-soaked, sweat-stained wings. The performances by all four members of the quartet are tighter, more precisely executed while at the same time displaying even more strength and abandon. Guitarists Candice Ryerson and Evan MacKinnon share vocal duties, MacKinnon’s gutteral snark playing off Ryerson’s passionate spit extremely well. The production is surprisingly fine, displaying a full sound combined with live-off-the-flow spontaneity. While “Not Gonna Lie” and “Bad News” stand out early as great, bloody, cathartic tracks that leave your fists itching, it’s “Music Is My Job,” a smirking tribute to the dedication of independent artists that shines as the album’s highlight. A well-executed, enthusiastic and varied punk record, Don’t Take It To Heart is a great end-of-the-summer release.
Listen to Don’t Take It To Heart by the Skullians here!