Electronica fills you with a sensation to dance, move around and bring you to a happier state of mind when you plug your headphones in and give it a listen. Whether it is through the samples the producer uses or however many beats per minute a song plays at, the production of an electronic album is the most important part to what makes it listenable, and more importantly, enjoyable.
Mystery Skulls’ third studio album, “Back to Life,” does just that. From beginning to end, “Back to Life” brought me to doing some fancy footwork when I was listening to the album by myself. Even when I listened to the album on my car rides to work or wherever I was going at the time, regardless of what mood I was in, I just wanted to shimmy my shoulders to the beat of each song.
With the exception of the album’s opening track, which is essentially just noise that opens the album for a good two minutes, the production of every song is great. Mystery Skulls combined what worked in his first two albums and blended them beautifully to create what is his greatest produced collection of songs. Combining “Forever’s” groovy bass-lines with “One of Us'” club approach, it just works so well.
The album’s singles really show how well this works. With each release, the singles only made me more and more excited for the album’s release. Putting any of these singles on either one of his first two albums only would have made them better. The title track, and last of the three singles, is the best song overall on the album. As the song and album name suggests, the song comes to life with a bouncy bass and a playful piano that is featured on the chorus.
The album does falter big time in one aspect: the vocals.
A good majority of this album’s vocals come from Mystery Skulls, or Luis Dubuc. Dubuc’s vocals throughout his discography have never been a problem for me. I appreciated his raspy voice, and it brings a different element to his songs that I don’t see from other electronic acts like him.
However, there are songs on this album I like enough to bypass the spotty vocals, like the song “In My Dreams.” The sound is there. I enjoy that part the most, but his singing just doesn’t pair up with it to the point where I don’t like it as much as other songs on the album. If more time was put into the vocal side of the album, this could have been Mystery Skulls’ best album.
Overall, “Back to Life” is definitely worth a listen. If you are a new listener, I wouldn’t recommend this as the first album to listen to if you want to get into Mystery Skulls. Listen to his discography in order of release.
The production of the album is by far the best thing Mystery Skulls has done in his career, but his vocals only work with a handful of the tracks on “Back to Life.” They don’t ruin the album for me, but they make me want to see what this album could have been if Mystery Skulls had worked on it for a couple of more weeks.