Known as Sole’s backing band since their first album together in 2007, Skyrider was playing as a trio before that, and continue to write and record even when Sole is working on other projects. While we can expect a Sole and the Skyrider Band album next summer, we’ve got a full-length instrumental album to enjoy right now.

The album is difficult to pin down, and its eclectic mix of genres does little to help. It’s not quite hip hop, glitch, down tempo, space rock, ambient, new wave, no wave, or IDM, but does draw on their formal elements. It starts off with a menacing synth line that is reminiscent of a John Carpenter score (I’m thinking of The Thing, specifically), tense and eerie. Fuzz builds around it and drums kick in, which prompts me to look over my shoulder and make sure nothing is about to jump out at me. From there, the mood shifts from danceable and playful to slow and thoughtful. The album is unpredictable, as the band likes to alter tone a lot, and will often set the listener up to get into a comfort zone, only to turn dramatically in another direction.

And while the band keeps an aura of seriousness and somber tone for most of the album, they reveal their nerdy side and overjoy this listener with their inclusion of a musical sample from Three Amigos. Granted, it gets re-contextualized and turned into a booming, dark song, and it becomes very interesting to turn the organ score of the silent film shown in the church into something altogether different, but for a brief moment I wanted to run out of my office and yell, “No! We will not die like dogs! We will fight like lions!”

The trio of Bud Berning, William Ryan Fritch, and John Wagner collaborate well together, as indicated by how well they are able to switch tone and song structure, but also with the subtle touches happening throughout the album. Individually, they are good instrumentalists and composers, but most importantly their chemistry is superb. If this seventy-five minute release is “teaser” or “filler” material, then I can’t wait for what they’ll unleash on us next year.