Artist: Salim Nourallah
Album: Skeleton Closet
Label: HIT Records
Release Date: 08/17/2015
Skeleton Closet is the first self-produced album by Texan musician, Salim Nourallah. Active and fairly prolific since the early 1990s, Nourallah is known for consistently creating subtle alternative rock anthems with thoughtful lyrics. Skeleton Closet is a natural, albeit slightly bolder step forward from his 2012 release, Hit Parade.
Of the 12 tracks, “The Bullies Are Back” lives up most to Nourallah’s description of his music as “if a Beatle were stranded in the desert at age three and raised on The Clash.” With undertones of early punk, Nourallah uses his music to denounce bullies as cowards, disabling them from the ground up. Other tracks, like “Terlingua,” tend towards a mellow and slightly repetitive sound. There are atmospheric hints of Nourallah’s background throughout, conjuring the quiet intensity of arid heat and crumbling ghost towns.
The second half of the album evokes a faster, heavier tempo with some dub influence discernible in “Two Years” and even hints of reggae and funk. Some surprising songwriting also manifests in Skeleton Closet, with a spattering of strange and quixotic imagery such as the following excerpt from “2 Lizards:” “Two lizards in your hair. Maybe it seemed like a good place to rest or maybe they were building a comfortable nest.”
Skeleton Closet is the latest contribution in a long line of hard-won successes on the part of Nourallah. Listeners can look forward to songs that are easy to listen to, but difficult to forget.
– Leah Dearborn