“There’s an interesting dichotomy at work in the music of Columbia trio Skymonk. The rhythm section tends toward an understated pulse — nothing too showy, just simple, confident playing. That leaves a wide-open canvas for singer/guitarist Kelly Nash to release a tidal wave of guitar noise that seems to be made of pure visceral emotion. Rather than meshing with bassist Scott Roberts and drummer Ben Evans, Nash traffics in ear-splitting shards of noise that serve to comment on and bolster his vulnerable wail. It’s not uncommon for bands to highlight loud guitars, but Skymonk uses that volume to create another storytelling voice.”- Vincent Harris, Free Times (Aug 04, 2016)
“The three-piece band Skymonk consisting of Kelly Nash (vocals, guitar), Scott Roberts (bass) and Ben Evans (drums) is making their presence known. They started rocking out venues in Columbia, SC and also recently released a short yet good introduction to the band through a self-titled three song EP Skymonk. With this EP the band establishes themselves as a well-versed rock band but also hints at other possibilities.
They kick off the EP with an upbeat well-written rock song entitled “Stop Looking At Me.” The music on the verse reminded me of The Smiths as the bass line contains fills you might hear from Andy Rourke. Nash’s guitar line is fairly straightforward revolving around a couple of simple but effective chord progressions. The verse is solid but the chorus is the hook. Nash sings “Stop looking at me that way You’re just telling me lies Stop looking at me that way.” The song is not particularly innovative but is well written and immediately establishes that the band has chemistry.
The second track “So Low” has a ‘80s rock vibe but veers more towards the sound of The Replacements than hair metal. Nash’s voice sounds good throughout but I thought it sounded especially strong when he seemed to be perfectly within his range during the verse.
They close with a track called “Matchless,” which trades their electric guitars for acoustic and then relies on more tom drums than before to create an almost tribal atmosphere. The song has some resemblance to something you would hear from Rusted Root. I liked the festive energy and that the band wasn’t afraid to create something with a rather drastic deviation from the previous material.
The EP is a good start but doesn’t contain enough music to get a complete assessment of the band. Some of it felt a bit dated but some of it felt inspired. This is a case of wait and see but if I was a betting man I would say there are good things to come. ”
-Ted Rogen, The Equal Ground (Sept 2014)
“From the opening bars of Skymonk’s self titled EP, a confident wash of smoky blues tinged indie rock launches itself forward, paving the way for ten minutes of solid tunes.
Opener ‘Stop Looking At Me’ manages to set the bar high, with a sultry, hazy rock riff that perfectly underpins the track’s repeated refrain, “Stop looking at me that way”. Lyrically there’s the air of someone wanting to be left alone in the song’s narrative, and yet the music itself comes off as self assured, not really concerned about how you look at it either way.
‘So Low’ is deliciously crunchy and distorted, almost Stones-esque like something off R.E.M’s raucous rock and roll record, the mighty Monster. The track itself is perfectly balanced, with emotive vocals, rich guitars and solos to be found in just the right places.
Skymonk’s EP comes to its all too soon conclusion with ‘Matchless’, a track that incorporates eastern tones and scales, blending with the indie aesthetic to create a curious tension that makes the music stand out as imaginative and prepared to try new things pushing back against standard mainstream methods while remaining entirely accessible at the same time.”
-Chris Marsh, Skope Magazine (Aug 14, 2014)
“Guitarist and vocalist Kelly Nash, bassist Scott Roberts and drummer Ben Evans recorded their EP debut as Skymonk in late 2013, a little more than a year after founding the eclectic rock outfit. The results bear out the growth they’ve managed in that time. The three-course platter kicks off with “Stop Looking At Me,” leaning on pop-rock formula with punchy, overdriven riffs propelled by the emphatic snap of Evans’ snares. Nash’s thick vocals, cushioned by sustaining strums, breeze into a soulful chorus accented by simple and articulate leads before a crashing bridge sends Skymonk back to its refrain. Displaying its versatility, the band flows easily into the post-grunge-inspired “So Low.” Nash subdues his singing, accenting the song’s more mournful melody. Evans’ powerful percussion comes punctuated by Roberts’ thundering bass, lending additional power to the drummer’s every cymbal crash. Concluding with the acoustic offering “Matchless,” Nash dials back with eloquent strums played over plucked bass lines and a tribal drum backdrop, the mixture bringing to mind a more refined Guster. Refusing to play it safe, Skymonk arrives with three looks it could easily refine in the future, a promising start for this talented band.”
-Dade Driggers, Free Times Blog, Columbia, SC (August 12, 2014)
“…a promising tour de force of the artists’ individual influences held together by impeccable rhythms and competently articulate vocals.”
– Dade Driggers, Free Times Columbia, SC
“…Powerful vocals, meticulous guitars and a rhythm section that’s there, on it, all the time… So Low has that feel that you get when you listen to a track and everything just works so well and one thinks, yeah. The trio of Kelly Nash, Scott Roberts and Ben Evans show that just being a really good band is trendy…”
– FZB, Floorshime Zipper Boots Blog (Aug 01, 2014)
“Skymonk’s music style sticks to the blues/rock, but occasionally dips into other genres. Blues is the umbrella in which the group operates under, but if something new is discovered … it’s fair game.”
-Tilden Brighton, G&B Blog University of South Carolina (Apr 01 2013)
“Skymonk will take over Columbia. When I saw them I couldn’t figure out who they reminded me of, which is a good thing. Everyone in the band meshes with each other like a brother. Their originals are great and on top of that they can all play like mertherferkers!”
-Kelly Morris, The Mobros
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