Poole-based post-punk band Skaema while most of us were eating turkey, drinking sherry and opening presents; have released their new 5-track EP entitled “Ma-Mighty”. This release marks two major milestones for the band; the first being the introduction of synthesisers on many of the tracks and the release of their first cover version “A Forest”, originally by English 80’s Goth Rock band The Cure. Frontman Neil Philips comments “the release title is a bit tongue-in-cheek. We always joke that there are two camps – those who love us and those who hate us, although hate is perhaps too strong a word. We also wanted to dedicate the release to mine and Duncan’s Mothers who passed away from cancer last year. Ma is an affectionate way of saying mother, so this is a way of paying respect to them also.

The decision to include a cover version was one that we debated for ages. We thought it through and felt that we had shown that we could produce decent original material and the time felt right. We tried a few and “A Forest” was one that seemed to come together immediately. It just felt right, and it is a firm favourite from that era for both Duncan and I. It goes down well at gigs too.” Bassist Duncan adds “We have been experimenting for a while with a Roland synthesizer on several tracks and while in the studio played around with some piano and trumpet as well. On “Cop Out”, Neil plays bass while I play synth. “We want the band to be fresh, constantly evolving and not be afraid to try new things but at the same time retain the powerful, distinctive gritty sound that we have been become to be known for.”

The EP was recorded with the help and production of Ex-Mother Uker Jason Poole (Nacho Jase) at “Aandmade Recording Studios” in deepest Boscombe. Founder members Neil and Duncan have recently recruited two new members: Becca (Drums) & Mike (Keyboards) to the fold to enhance their alternative sound. The Ep opens with “Make Your Bed”; Duncan’s deep basslines start proceedings, before the drums join in and then the Stylophone-sounding keys. The track continues with the band’s social commentary subject matter and Neil’s experience walking along the thin blue line has inspire the lyrics. Clearly a man in his fifies (like me) dreaming of putting his feet up with that pension pot when the time comes. An honest and open opinion from the right side of the law.


Next up is “Revolving Door” a song that shows the band evolving with their creative abilities; the backbone is a contrasting, rolling guitar riff; coupled with some decent rhythms, prominent vocals along the lines of Mark E Smith and Hugh Cornwell spelling out the subject matter with some clever writing. The chorus is infectious and will crash uninvitedly into your grey matter and stay there for some time. I’m undecided whether I like or dislike the keyboards that also remind me of Sooty’s best friend Sweep.

The darker “Cop Out” with its moody basslines and atmospheric synths shows the band turning around a different corner with an almost Goth-sounding tune and Neil’s vocal cleverly adapts accordingly. Talking of Goth…. next up is a cover of one of my favourite songs by The Cure, “A Forest” and to choose to recreate a track like this would usually be sacrilege. The band here though have got the instrumentation just right; Duncan’s bass, in my eyes the most important factor of the track and is spot on. The guitar sound matches this and it’s an enjoyable listen. Neil’s regional Brummie vocal will always be trumped by Robert Smith’s, but nevertheless a fine effort. The only thing I’d change would be to make the bass part on the end go on a bit longer, just like the one on the Concert live album.

The final track of “Ma Mighty” is “A Calling” and this really shows the creative juices flowing, with the band bringing together one of their finest numbers to date. It is wholly original with loads of different things within to enjoy. A slow brooding guitar starts a pace, a matched vocal joins before the rhythms light up briefly then slowing down to the original. The lyrical content is equally dark and an austere trumpet solo section adds to the mood. I love the way the imaginative bass and drums ebb and flow providing the murkiness, before the song ends with a Question……So What Have We Learnt Now……

After two albums and now three two EP’s, Skaema have shown themselves to be prolific and always seem to have an abundance of ideas. Their creativity has taken a step forward with this latest set of recordings and they have found themselves a line-up that enables them to push forward with this.

Track Listing
Make Your Bed
Revolving Door
Cop Out
A Forest (The Cure)
A Calling

Skaema are
Neil Phillips (Lead Vocal, Guitar, Synth)
Duncan Gooch (Bass, Backing Vocal, Keys)
Becca Kempster (Drums)
Mike (Synths)


Words By David Chinery (Chinners)