The 11th March saw the release of #1, the first in a series of EPs to come from Newry-based band, The Skin We’re In.
Akin to how Villagers began, The Skin We’re In is the solo recorded effort of multi-instrumentalist Cricky Markey, with the addition of a full band for live shows.
Described as “contemporary rock infused with soul, jazz and funk licks,” whilst citing everyone from Prince to Tom Waits as an influence, The Skin We’re In certainly have a lot to live up to…
And I think they’ve nailed it. The EP is wonderfully erratic, opening with the challenging Society, chock-full of damning lyrics and gloriously melodic keyboard riffs which are sustained throughout the record. The distorted vocals, which sound like they’ve been dragged backwards and forwards through a vocoder, add to the already dystopian atmosphere created by the sharp, modulated guitar tone.
Blood Runs Red opens with jumping, staccato keyboards, with style almost reminiscent of a Bat Out Of Hell-era Jim Steinman. The whole record just feels like layer upon layer of pulsating experimentalism. Lyrically astute, Markey seems to pull his songs from personal experience, something quite unique in music so textured, where lyrics often seem to be present more so out of necessity, rather than actually adding anything of value to the song.
The abrupt keyboard returns on penultimate track, Asunder, a song rich in electronic elements and sophisticated vocal harmonies. It does, however, sound somewhat out of place amongst the others on the EP; the slightly awkward pre-gap between this song and both its predecessor and successor makes the listening experience feel unfortunately interrupted.
All is not lost, however, as atmospheric ballad, Factions, closes the record. I find elements of this song really reminding me of one of my favourite ambient-electronic groups, E.S. Posthumus, who, after the tragic death of one of their members, are now sadly defunct. The presence of a dramatic string-section give this song a unique, almost orchestral feel. It all feels extremely cinematic and otherworldly; a perfect choice to close an equally visceral album.
The Skin We’re In will be playing a live show in Newry’s Amplified Bar on April 19th, so if you’re around Co. Down be sure to check out their show which includes débuting an all-new live line up!