“I beat my,
Myself black and blue

You cut your,
Yourself up it’s true
Tell me why
There was no follow through
Where the hell I went
When I went krazy without you
Krazy without you.

A little edgy, uptempo pop rock can really get you through a Friday afternoon. I discovered, via YouTube, the latest from Matt Skiba and The Sekrets, a band I did not know existed. Matt Skiba is really talented, and also really busy. 

The record is 32 minutes of riffs and hooks and top-of-range high notes. It’s like a peppy version of The Smiths in some way, with retro-throwback rhythms and dynamite rhythms. I could maybe do without the “k” trope – it’s even embedded in their lyrics! – but I suppose I ought to give it up for attention to detail. In a way it speaks to the adolescent moodiness a rock musician has to encapsulate, and his voice carries with a goth-like flatness that makes it somehow forgivable. There’s a specific style to hear, and to see, yet it’s subtle enough to avoid the kind of dramatics I’ve gotten a bit too old for with modern acts. Skiba, after all, is an adult, and so even in pop punk/pop rock format, there’s a maturity to speak of.

Across “Kuts” there’s a healthy dose of guitar solos, and a ton of synth production that feels current and trendy and now. The focus isn’t on the frills, but the feel, like the building chords and bridges that collapse into sad little scenes of hearts in pieces and broken souls. It’s like someone poured The Cure through a 2014 indie pop filter, and blended in some early 2000s emo. I will take it.

I’m familiar enough with Alkaline Trio to know I’d appreciate the sound of Skiba’s own creations, but I’m unfamiliar enough with Skiba’s (massive) catalog to feel like I’ve discovered something. At the end of a week, before a series of unknown hours and unknown situations and all the space and opportunity that can provide, these are the sounds that keep me from the same old traps and tracks, and embracing what is new and now, and fresh.

“You came crawling from the wreckage
You were stumbling through the dark
You were trying to send a message

You were trying to leave your mark
I was busy playing in traffic
I was dizzy from the spin

Blindfolded with my arms out stretched
They called my next of kin

And I went off the rails without you
I went off the rails it’s true…

You came roaring from the ocean
You were swept onto the land
You had nothing but your broken wits
And a fistful of sand

I was softly speaking backwards
In my ancient mother tongue
There was nothing left to do but laugh
At what I had become

And I went off the rails without you
I went off the rails it’s true…

I beat my
Myself black and blue
You cut your
Yourself up it’s true
Tell me why
There was no follow through
Where the hell I went
When I went krazy without you
Krazy without you.

~Krazy
Matt Skiba and the Sekrets, Kuts