It’s no surprise that the members of Crystal Skulls are from Seattle. Their laid-back, melodious tunes owe much to the sensibilities and sentimentality of the indie-rock hub the Pacific Northwest has turned into since the ’90s. Carefully pitter-pattering along, the band never seems to reach too far up or down during — coasting along a mediocre road of music that’s definitely not bad but sure ain’t exciting, either. On Outgoing Behavior, the band’s second full-length, Crystal Skulls seems entirely uninterested in being innovative or changing the music scene.
Singer Christian Wargo croons along at the same level for all eleven of the album’s tracks. Titles like “Baby Boy,” “Heavy Sleeper,” “Hey, It’s Easy,” and “Sedate & Satisfied,” put the band in the distinctive mid-thirties hipster range. Sprinkled with handclaps and piano, these songs are like a soundtrack for that glass of wine after having put the new baby to bed.
Not every band can blast onto the scene with a brand new style. But the members of Crystal Skulls seem content to mosey around in their comfortable world, playing music that’s easy on the ears with familiar melodies and obvious nods to the bands they admire (Stereolab, for instance). In a world where envelope-pushing constitutes Britney Spears walking barefoot into a public restroom, it’s no wonder records like this are conceived. By sticking to the rules of indie rock, Outgoing Behavior is gentle and acceptable. Many may be satisfied by such a thing, but I think a good shake to rattle those skulls might not be a bad idea.