Words by Jaymes Diaz
You likely already recognised Russell Fitzgibbon as the bassist for Babitha or as the taller half of legendary Sydney dance duo Fishing. Since the 2020 lockdowns, however, you’ve probably recognised him as Skeleten. Now, after a lengthy run of singles, we’ve finally been treated to Skeleten’s debut full-length, ‘Under Utopia’.
Upon announcing the record, Fitzgibbon wrote: “I had this vision of waking into the world from eternal nothingness and floating over humanity, seeing everything with universal wonder and love, breathing in all the beauty and sadness of life for the first time.”
The album is marked by this ethereal, wide-eyed tenderness. With his effortless mid-range vocals, Fitzgibbon relays a series of images that are more concerned with conveying a particular feeling about the world than sticking to any linear narrative.
Instrumental opener ‘Generator’ eases you into the album’s glassy and laid-back lead single ‘Mirrored’, where our first round of images present themselves. “Mirrored in the chrome of a parking lot… Mirrored in the cap spread out on your phone.” As per the album’s mission statement, the track sees Fitzgibbon approach life with an open heart, finding himself in each obscure corner of the world.
‘Walking On Your Name’ flaunts the slinky rhythms and dreamy synths of ‘So Many Details’ era Toro Y Moi, flipping lyrically between the temporal and atemporal. ‘Territory Day’ has similarly hypnotic rhythms, topped by synths that are reminiscent of the Age Of Empires soundtrack.
‘Under Utopia’, ‘Colour Room’, and ‘Right Here It’s Only Love’ slow things down to a point of complete transcendental bliss. This is when ‘Sharing The Fire’ hits with the album’s most memorable and infectious bassline; one that makes you want to dance a la the track’s brilliant music video.
The album’s closing track ‘Everything We Need In The World’ feels completely triumphant. In addition to containing the record’s catchiest chorus, the song presents us our final round of images; everything, new phone, haircut, fresh air, sleep, old friend, new friend, new faces, new shoes, oblivion, return, acceptance, peace.
It plays like an exultant guided meditation; the perfect end to an album that aims to capture the entire beauty of the world and actually kinda succeeds.
Grab a ticket to Skeleten’s ‘Under Utopia’ launch show at Liberty Hall on October 7th… if for no other reason than to run an eye over the live band’s tall and notedly handsome bassist, Joe Muller.
Liberty Hall, Sydney
Saturday 7 October
Doors open 8pm
Ayebatonye b2b Ben Fester (DJ)
Bria b2b Evie (DJ)