๐Ÿ“€๐ŸŽถ Skelattack | Original Video Game Soundtrack | Music by Jamal Green ๐Ÿ’ฟ๐ŸŽต @JamalGreenMusic @MondoNews @skelattack #Vinyl #VideoGameVinyl

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A perfect pack of Halloween tunes suitable for all the family, the Skelattack soundtrack is taken from the 2020 action platformer of the same name. Featuring songs that instantly come across in a very whimsical, ‘Burton-esque’ way, the joyously kooky ‘n spooky approach that Jamal Green takes really makes this an addictive listen that sets a great mood, calling to mind not just some great games but also timeless family favourite movies.

Presented on two 180g white/grey splatter records housed in black anti-static (thank you) sleeves, Skelattack comprises 26 tracks across the four sides - the final, D side being 4 bonus tracks that I believe are exclusive to these records.

The cover features Skully - our protagonist – in a defiant, fist-brandishing pose as he leaps across a spike pit, with his trusty bat-pal Imber grinning as he flies above. Whilst the greens, blues and purples in the colouring add to the spooky tones, the grey framing of the cover really called to mind the box style of Atari 5200 games, not sure if this was a conscious decision on behalf of artist JJ Harrison - but it gives it a classic, vintage feel. Meanwhile, the rear of the cover has several in-game screenshots flanking the tracklist with the grey frame reflecting the front cover.

Inside the gatefold sleeve, you’ll be greeted with a colourful image featuring a cast of characters from the game partying in a tavern, frolicking and making music! There is also a single sheet with a stark image of a demon hugging a be-mushroomed flower (aww) and on the back – the credits and thankyous.

Side A:

Aftervale Overture – Beginning with magical twinkling, a lilting, haunting two-note melody comes in accompanied by chimes and violins, it’s evocative of a camera swopping over a cartoon graveyard already! This leads up to marimbas, upright bass and running piano melodies – the rhythms come and go, really feeling like a lot of ground is covered. It’s a great introduction as it introduces themes, instrumentation and – naturally – clock chimes that will be revisited throughout the record.

Titles – triangle tingles, marimba and jaunty violin give off the impression of Skully tiptoeing unseen down a staircase or a child stealing biscuits at midnight, it’s got that light Halloween edge but is also mischievous and fun.

Magic Shop – This waltz kicks in and really gave me The 7th Guest vibes, when the harpsichord joins in the waltz timing, I was hips deep. A lovely melody rolls over the top, which is eventually accompanied by flute but it’s that 1-2-3,1-2-3 dance-time magic that brings the grins.

The Old Observatory – The waltz rhythm remains but this time at a slower pace and quite honestly, is one of my favourites so far, The Old Observatory sounds like clothed ghosts dancing sadly, reflected through shining mirrors in a tired, once-grand ballroom. After just over a minute, a rollicking tune trundles over and changes the mood, unexpected and saucy! Definitely an early favourite. The addition of what I assume to be castanets sound like rhythmic, chattering teeth - good!

Ancient Library – The gently plucked notes and saloon piano here are reminiscent of Titles, that cheeky creeping is back. Long, held violin notes give atmosphere and add a layer of sombreness but nothing can hold back the impish melody just underneath. By the way, those castanet rhythms are still chattering away, don’t you worry about that!

Mr Blacksmith – beginning at the low end of the scale, the marimba and shakers behind a snaking melody give a slightly Eastern-inflected take on things for a brief moment before Mr Blacksmith turns into a more percussion-focused track with the flute weaving its way through.

Celebration in Aftervale – For a second, I thought I was listening to The Mask! Beginning with those low-tuned jazz drums, this is a full-on dance-off, instruments trading off each other over a melody that demands that your bones tap along! A brief burst of celebration, exactly as the title suggests.

Side B:

Shrine - I’m not afraid to say how much I’m loving the waltzes on this album. Playing in with marimba and piano, this is another catchy melody that will burrow deep into your maggot-infested brain. Eventually dropping out over a held violin note as a solo horn parps out three-note beats, this track isn’t afraid to strip itself back – until the pace picks up and the organ and light percussion rock up to win over your dusty, grey, lifeless heart. 

Helping the Rat King – another track that leads in with muted strings, it’s not long before a lovely, rolling piano line enters the fray alongside more bone-like percussion, the two-note double bass gives a real groove to this but it’s the keys that wrap their twirling melodies around your brain. Your wet, pulsating and oh so tasty, brain.

Pop-up Emporium – Some serious Eastern vibes here with sitar and bongos. A brief, almost interlude-like track, I did notice that this and Helping the Rat King weren’t shy with a sneaky volume bump!

Warrior Battle – I was initially expecting a huge, epic battle theme – and whilst there are touches of that here, I was impressed with how the bony percussion and lightness of touch and cheekiness in the melody remained, totally thematically on point.

We Green-thumbed Ghouls – The introduction to this is sparse, mournful and beautiful. Even when more instruments join in, there’s a delicacy in the playing and a focus on the melancholic that is wonderful and lilting.

Archer Battle – the low, rumbling piano note and dancing rhythm, along with the flute and percussion felt almost Disney-like here, I could imagine this music playing in a failed-escape scene from an early kid’s movie. It’s so hard to ignore the inherent charm that bleeds through every track here, that I have no intention of doing so!

Rock-kin and Fire-kin – beginning with a tick-tock sound and rising stomps, I wasn’t sure where the track was going to go. Initially very minimalist in approach, the marimba and percussions return to bring the atmosphere back to jovial, spooky action as the violin adds a touch of thoughtfulness.

Side C:

Mage Battle – A plucky number, the marimba returns as energy maintains throughout the track. Another example of shifting moods, a shimmering keyboard line leads to some really nice piano runs that alter the tone and add an air of uncertainty whilst again keeping the lightness of mood.

Rescuing Imber – It appears Skully’s bat pal has gotten himself into a spot of bother! The rhythm of the string section feels very sneaky and tip-toey with the ramping up of the instrumentation very much feeling like someone shadowing closer to a target. I loved the held violin notes cutting through the more peppery strings.

Escape! – rushing fanfare and a jammy sensibility brings this dancey number to life, there was a touch of Grim Fandango about this all-too-brief number!

Bard and Paladin Battle – another favourite that has a Spanish vibe, complete with punctuations of guitar strums, walking bass and chattering percussion, the soundtrack to a day of the dead that lives again!

Path of the Dead - cascading notes that almost echoes the famous Final Fantasy 7 theme get the theremin treatment, this song gave off visions of a ghostly couple dancing; floating in the moonlight in a slow tango that morphs into a twisted waltz of the doomed.

Assassin Battle – the energy ramps back up here as hand-drum rimshots race behind rolling harpsichord and cascading cello, slowing to a chamber piece complete with ominous, room-filling organ. Good. 

The Chase – Seemingly a continuation of the previous track, melodies and themes are returned to, including jazzy piano chords and two-note walking basslines. Featuring a full drum kit - a great and brief treat towards the end of the track.

Serenity – The big organ opening isn’t shy and gives way instantly to a beat-driven track that had flashes of Goldeneye on the N64 - bizarrely - in the stabbing notes, again – good! Some gorgeous harp runs lead to a moment that creates the image of a slowly turning ballerina figure in a music box before the full kit returns to add to that ever-present driving beat.

Side D (Bonus Tracks):

Bad to the Bone – A track that seems so familiar and warm that it feels burned into my DNA. This one comes jivin’ right out of the box. If the rest of the bonus tracks are as strong as this, this is going to be a hell of a final side!

Day of the Dead – cowbell and restrained snare rimshots = good. This jazzy number has some really saucy piano work over a bass line that knows how to groove. I felt like I was in a jazz bar watching some old-timers work their magic. This could have been fifteen minutes long and I wouldn’t have cared. Awesome.

Rattle N’ Shake – The double bass stands tall in many ways and this track is one. Reminiscent of something I could have heard of the recently covered Pecaminosa, the triple-hit ride rhythms and smooth jazz vibes keep coming and I’m more than happy to let them do so. I’m fully on board with this final side to drift out of the kooky-spooky and get old school, these are seriously jazzy bonus tracks!

Skelattack Ambience – As the title suggests, this is a few minutes to mix some smoking cocktails to. Flourishes of piano and slow, vibrating violin and classic, black and white horror melodies drift in and out, alongside some familiar moments that capture the ambient music used throughout the game. I’d say this has more The 7th Guest vibes – but I’m going to say that again in my summary paragraph – up next – so I won’t mention that here. Whoops.

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