Skittish is the main project of Minnesota-based singer/songwriter Jeff Noller. They’ve traveled from strength to strength over their 12 year history, prolifically releasing new material which has seen appearances on MTV, Showtime and Lifetime Movies. Their discography consistently focuses on serious and downbeat lyrical content delivered through a vehicle of undoubtedly catchy and upbeat instrumentation.
When it comes to studio material, the band is a true workhorse. 2010 saw the release of the double album The Perfect Shade of Green, featuring strong delta-blues influences. 2014 saw the release of a concept EP detailing the five stages of grief, which was swiftly followed up by the folk-rock full length Two Legs Bad the following year. Their latest full length album, Better Out Than In depicts the newfound outlook on life from Noller after “getting on happy pills”. The album is far more pop-influenced than much of their previous output and basks in huge reverberated production. It effectively transports the listener into the inner workings of Noller’s mind; the lyrics of each song brilliantly depict the subtle balance of amusement, curiosity, anger and confusion that usually makes up the average human being’s mental state at any given moment. A particular highlight was the track We’re All Crazy. The track draws heavily on the country-pop material of artists such as Taylor Swift; dry, compressed drums and bass form the infrastructure for an ethereal set of synth, guitar and backing vocal lines leading into a massive hook. I’d strongly encourage the band to focus on this track for promotional purposes as it’s bound to get stuck in the listener’s head for days.
Their visual identity is absolutely brilliant; with a blend of 18th and 21st century clothing, they effectively represent the folk genre they employ to discuss the trials and tribulations of existence in the modern world. It’s certainly an image that’ll stay with you and one that represents their sound very well. Their social media presence is generally very good; they uses their own dedicated website as a rendezvous point for their YouTube and Facebook pages, which are all interlinked and updated regularly. As many of their social media posts are used to update fans on recording and performing activities, it may be worth making use of a platform such as Twitter or Instagram to focus more on fan engagement and lighthearted content to keep fans entertained in between important announcements.
Overall, Skittish is an excellent band who have a firm grasp on their sonic and visual identities and a very admirable work ethic. Highly recommended for all fans of folk, rock and blues.