credit: Christopher Borges
Casper Skulls have announced their debut EP, Lips & Skull, with the premiere of its first single, “Devotion,” on Fader. The EP arrives at the end of what has been a busy first year of existence for Casper Skulls, who have built a reputation as one of Toronto’s most exciting new bands on the back of their self-released “King of Gold” 7″, their first Buzz Records single “Mink Coats,” and their intense live shows with acts like Perfect Pussy, Dilly Dally, Hop Along, Suuns and Speedy Ortiz. Following an early 2016 Canadian tour supporting Solids and the Dirty Nil, the band began working on the EP in February with Josh Korody (Dilly Dally, Fucked Up, Beliefs) and producer Shehzaad Jiwani of Greys. Inspired by the friendship between Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell as depicted in correspondence between the two reproduced in Hell’s memoir “I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp,” letters from which the band takes its name and the EP gets its title, Lips & Skull captures Casper Skulls at a crucial moment of their development. Vocalist/guitarist Neil Bednis describes the EP as “a document of some of the earliest songs we worked on together,” and as such the EP functions as a snapshot of a young band at a moment of discovery, harnessing for the first time the depth and direction of their considerable potential.
As the EP’s first single and lead off track, “Devotion” sets the tone for the release, introducing the band at their taut and kinetic best, and illustrating their dynamic range, building tension in between eruptions of the track’s thunderous hook, while exploring for the first time in their recorded material, the interplay between Bednis and the band’s other vocalist Melanie St-Pierre.
Bednis has said that the EP is thematically focused on “the duality of man, both in outward relationships and in relation to himself,” a theme present in the single’s lyrics, a meditation on devotion as it’s manifested across a broad spectrum of human experience.
“The song traces devotion from its most humble form (devotion to a sports team or a coffee shop) all the way to an American state’s devotion to follow through with capital punishment,” he tells FADER. “I meant to explore the beauty of being devoted to something but also what devotion could look like when it is driven by ego, ignorance or hatred.”