WITH their first album since 2017’s The Mercy Works out yesterday, Casper Skulls have shared a video for the mysterious and evocative roots rock of “Ouija”, which sees them connect to the infinite in well-wrought melody,
A slight step away from the tenebrous and thundery aesthetic of their previous work, and finding some common sonic ground with artists such as Neko Case, it’s a fine example of how chanteuse Melanie St-Pierre’s lyricism sings clearer now; and how guitarist Neil Bednis has been inspired by the feedback classicism of songs such as Neil Young’s “Cortez The Killer”.
For me, also, it’s as if that sultry canyon country spareness of Mazzy Star had found a more uptempo milieu in the mist and forests north of the 49th.
“Ouija” was the last song written for the new album, Knows No Kindness, and is the only song included recorded live off the floor.
Knows No Kindness sees Melanie tell ten very personal stories of life growing up in small-town Northern Ontario; “Ouija” is specifically in tribute to her grandmother, Velma Crabs, whose death impacted the growing singer for a long time.
She says: “When she passed away, I was 15. One of the last things she said to me in the hospital was that she could see deer in a field in front of her. She was hallucinating but was describing real-life scenes from Massey that she had captured in her oil paintings: the deer, forestry or rushing water from The Chutes Provincial Park.
“After she passed, I dug into her life story and unearthed the photo that’s now the album cover. Alongside the townspeople of Massey, she held a protest to stop AECL from dumping nuclear waste into the Sables and Spanish rivers.
“’Ouija’ is about wanting to talk to her again now as an adult pursuing the same path she left behind.”
Casper Skulls’ Knows No Kindness is out now via Next Door Records digitally, on CD and on limited edition coke-bottle clear vinyl; you can get your hands on one here.