Exposé Online banner

Bob Drake — The Skull Mailbox
(ReR Megacorp CTA9, 2001, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2002-09-01

The Skull Mailbox Cover artBob Drake may be a genius, but it is fair to say that, as far as the results of his craft go, he is more than a bit scatterbrained. The Skull Mailbox is chock full of ideas, often more than one for each of these 27 tracks. There are some recurring musical themes to give the work a sense of continuity, and the lyrical themes all center on tales of the bizarre and macabre. But rather than a modern big-budget horror film packed with special effects, spurting blood, and six-channel Dolby digital pummeling, Drake’s tales are more reminiscent of spooky stories told around a campfire – kind of goofy, full of strangeness, and with a little twist at the corner of the mouth. Most of the tracks are built around acoustic guitars, often played with a frenetic fingerpicking style. Onto that foundation, Drake overdubs electric guitars, keyboards, drums, violin, a multitude of voices, and other instruments unlisted. The voices alone provide quite a bit of variety. Drake sings, speaks, and shrieks in a wide variety of tones, both straight and processed, and you’d swear he had help. The whole thing fits together as a more or less seamless single work, albeit one that jumps around stylistically. One of my favorite features is the scratchy electric guitar sounds that show up at unexpected times, providing seemingly random bursts of distortion. While this CD is too jumpy to listen too frequently, it is one of the most original and inventive releases of the year.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 25, 2001 releases

Related artist(s): Bob Drake

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

You Are Here - You Are Here – You Are Here are a new band out of Toronto with this eponymous EP as their debut. First off, I should point out that while a keyboard player is present, this quintet have a much newer and younger...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues