Exclusive Premiere: Sky Chefs’ “Lucite Wands” Are Gone, But Terrific Chemistry Remains

Sky Chefs © Devin O'Brien

A lush listening experience awaits all those who come across “Lucite Wands.” The creative child of LA-based emerging musical collective Sky Chefs, the track’s impressive singing and creative blend of instruments take it to considerable heights. What began as a project in one Dale Nicholls’ bedroom has transformed immensely in a rather short span of time. Led by vocalist/guitarist Nicholls, Sky Chefs’ impressive eleven-person fleet consists of well-credentialed players from The Black Keys, Pageants, Fiona Apple, Lou Reed, Cherry Glazerr, Chris Cohen, and Psychic Temple.

Now united under the banner of “Sky Chefs” — and also having earned the backing of L.A. record label owner Chris Schlarb, who mixed and produced “Lucite Wands” — Dale Nicholls’ band is ready for action. The past year has been a highly active and prolific one for Sky Chefs, seeing the release of their debut LP and three home-recorded EPs, as well as the writing and recording of their sophomore studio album. Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Lucite Wands,” the lead single off Sky Chefs’ upcoming second album Ghosts & Goblins, due April 21st. Sky Chefs are putting their best foot forward on “Lucite Wands,” with a stunning three-and-a-half-minute showcase of their creative and collaborative prowess.

got a busted up nose and a jar full of cliches
little white lies from Detroit down to Delray
tell me what you want, and we’ll take it
Listen: “Lucite Wands” – Sky Chefs

In similar style to “Closer” by the Chainsmokers, “Lucite Wands” features a male and female singer (Nicholls and Leeann Skoda) taking turns between singing solo and engaging in duet, all while detailing the struggles of trying to find their footing. Also like “Closer,” the lady steals the show here. Sky Chefs frontman, singer-songwriter-guitarist Dale Nicholls, is a decent and compelling vocalist – his singing sounds rough at times, embracing a gritty edge. His counterpart, Leann Skoda, ends up being the standout here, especially with her softly-delivered solo lines like, “Tell me what you want… and we’ll take it.”

stranded in Venice with the bums and the fleas
they both want my blood but I’m just a tease 
I’d sell my soul to have a soul
the lucite wands are gone 
Ghosts & Goblins - Sky Chefs

Ghosts & Goblins – Sky Chefs

“Lucite Wands” sticks to the theme of achieving one’s goals in spite of the hardships faced along the way — from having “a busted-up nose and a jar full of clichés” to being “stranded in Venice with the creeps and the fleas.” At numerous points, Sky Chefs inform their listeners that “the lucite wands are gone.” It is not the least ambiguous of refrains, but given that lucite wands are a common concert item, perhaps this indicates that the show is over for the two of them and that now it is time to get in better touch with reality. In any case, this metaphor is both subtle and intriguing, making it an effective choice for a chorus.

The greatest strength of the track lies in its fusion of various instruments. The opening horns and electric guitars are excellent, and serve as a fine companion to the presence of the singers. Once the vocals conclude two-and-a-half minutes in, the guitar riffs, drumming and electric keyboard that take over keep the track going strong with an outstanding outro. Over a dozen instrumentalists pitched in to the making of “Lucite Wands,” and nobody’s contributions are wasted in any sense.

Oh, Abbot Kinney won’t you make up your mind?
Sometimes you’re so ridiculous I think it’s a crime
Chill bros and the housekeeper are soaking up rays
Yoga mat on a Harley and Botox for days
The lucite wands are gone

For the artist, “Lucite Wands” is a “hazy beach song about hating the beach.” Dale Nicholls notes how the song was “written when I lived in Venice and felt like a sunburnt alien. I had a scraggly lead guitar part, but we wisely killed it for the sweet sax harmonies.” With the lively and engaging “Lucite Wands,” Sky Chefs have demonstrated the in-studio chemistry that could potentially propel them towards long-term success. Time will tell whether the upcoming Ghosts & Goblins lives up to the lofty standards established by the lead single, but so far, so good for this experimental group out in L.A.

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cover: Sky Chefs © Devin O'Brien

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I am a Washington, DC native and Tufts University graduate, currently working with the Close Up Foundation and applying to grad school for film and media production. I began writing for Atwood in spring 2015.