Fantastic Spikes through Balloon

Article excerpt

If Skeleton Key guitarist Chris Maxwell's fiery fretwork seems a little brassy at times, there's good reason. "There's a brass door knocker screwed over the hollow cavity on the back of my Silvertone," Maxwell notes. "It creates this nice kind of resonance when I tap it."

Fantastic Spikes Through Balloon [Capitol], Skeleton Key's full-length debut, is full of such idiosyncrasies. A kinetic fusion of edgy riffs and found-object percussion, the album sounds at times like a collaboration between Nine Inch Nails and Fat Albert's junkyard band. Appropriately, Maxwell's own musical development was similarly schizophrenic. "I was listening to everyone from classic rock radio guys like Brian May, who I think is wonderful, to guys like Marc Ribot and Derek Bailey" he reports. "So to me, anything goes, no matter who it is."

Maxwell plugs his Silvertone into a Fender Vibrolux on the road, but prefers to match up a tiny Silvertone amp and a blackface Deluxe when recording. …