Guitar wizardry, groovy syncopation from the rhythm section, and catchy tunes with mind-altering jams shaking the frame; these characteristics come as an air-tight package with the New Hampshire power trio People Skills.
Their performances and albums have been reviewed in a variety of publications across the New England area, including The Boston Phoenix, Spotlight Magazine, Portsmouth City Radio, Seacoast Online, and more. The band has played with some of the best bands in the state, opened for national touring acts like the legendary Max Creek, and have toured around the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwestern United States.
Formed in 2011, singer/guitarist Chelsea Paolini found herself sitting on a handful of songs she had written since her last band The Dramadies had broken up a few years earlier. She spent time following Phish once the band reunited, travelling as far as California to watch them perform. As a lifelong phan, Paolini decided out on the road that she wanted to combine the rock/pop stylings of the Dramadies and introduce psychedelic elements of the jam band scene. Thus, People Skills was born.
Recruiting her brother Andrew Paolini on drums and Greg Baldi on bass guitar, the trio began playing shows at bars and clubs around the Seacoast area of New Hampshire. People Skills quickly attracted a cult following and the band found themselves performing regularly at renowned clubs such like The Stone Church and The Press Room.
People Skills harness the jam-style sound of The Breakfast and blend their alternative rock influences like Weezer and Nirvana in with the classic rock stylings of The Who and Frank Zappa. The trio crafts singalong pop tunes and blurs the lines with their psych jams, brain-melting guitar solos, and expertly composed, dueling guitar/bass melodies. When asked to describe what type of music the band plays, Paolini claims that People Skills is “psychedelic lullaby rock" and “prog-pop" and then leaves it to the listener to connect the dots.
The band went in to record their first full length record People Skills in 2012 with producer Jon Nolan. Most of the songs, such as “Violet Visions", detailed Paolini’s time out on the festival circuit, as well as other stories about life and love. 2013 saw the band out on the road, writing new songs and building their fan base. People Skills entered the studio again in 2014 to record People Are People Too and received much acclaim from local media.
After People Are People Too and a short tour, Baldi left the band in late 2015 and was replaced with Eric Reingold of the Concord, NH based Cold Engines. With the new bass player came a new style of playing. In contrast with Baldi’s use of a pick and his jerky, pseudo-punk rock style of playing, Reingold plays with his fingers, introducing a funkier bass sound to the band’s music.
Currently, People Skills is in the studio recording their third full-length record Distractions at the Crawl Space in Dover, NH with producer Alex Bourne. The album is a collection of broken-hearted love songs written by Paolini about a recent break-up.
“The title also represents how hard it is to keep the momentum going in a local band that wants to push it further,” said Paolini. “It’s about the hardships and things that distract us like money and being in love, social lives, and the jaded feelings of working so hard for so long.
“Basically,” she said. “The thing I’ve realized over the past year is that I keep telling myself ‘everything besides this right here—the music, the band—is a distraction’.”
Distractions promises the infectious songwriting that has People Skills has honed and perfected over its five year existence. The band is looking to hit the road in the summer with Reingold on bass and bring their “lullaby rock" all around the country.