Second Skin Black Eyed Angel
By Marcus Pan
Recently I reviewed a band, who were in the
industrial genre, who I said did a good job but never reaches that plateau of
being remembered after the CD is done. Tonight we're going to explore the
implications of that same scenario within the confines of old fashioned goth
rock with the help of Second Skin.
Second Skin have found themselves on a number of
compilations, a movie credit and the previously released Skin Samples demo that
was reviewed in Legends four years back(1). Johnny B, back then, announced that
it showed promise of "greater things to come." Four years later, Black Eyed
Angel becomes Second Skin's fourteen track full length. Also included with
this limited release is a second CD that has computer-accessible video clips
(which I was unable to play due to format issues...?) and further information
on the band. But since I couldn't run them, we'll have to concentrate this
article on the first disc on which is the music.
Stalker opens smooth and deep with whispering spoken
word and windy synthesizers tinkling lightly, a short introduction track that
moves into Body, though they could have segued the two better considering
Stalker was intended to open Black Eyed Angel. With instrumental opening
tracks you want them to begin something rather than stand on their own.
Body however clearly shows that Second Skin has a lot
to offer to this tried and true genre of music. There's plenty of talent here
and the band's sound is tight and experienced. Lizz & Arron's vocals blend
wonderfully well together, neither overpowering the other. As Black Eyed
Angel progresses you'll note that Second Skin is quite a decent outfit as
far as capabilities go. None of the tracks here are "bad" in any way, but none
of them are very outstanding either.
Guitars throughout Black Eyed Angel, given to us by
Mark Cady (aka Kitty), are phenomenally well done. Kitty could stand up against
many guitarists easily. Liberate Me picks up the pace considerably with
a faster rhythm. Background bells add a foreboding element to the song. This is
one of the tracks that appeared four years ago on Skin Samples.
Following this is another that appeared on that demo release, Voo Doo
Doll, with its high pitched guitar squeals and, admittedly, somewhat inane
lyrics...nodded agreement to Johnny B's take on the track long ago.
As a bassist myself, I can certainly appreciate and groove
to Arron's simple and strong bass line that opens Sweet Nothing, which
is a track that tends to hang in the lower hertz range of the musical spectrum.
While I find Alyssa and Gretchen's guest backing vocals on the track a bit too
off key, the bass makes me appreciate the song a bit more. Another gutsy bass
line, simplistic but cunning, closes the album on Scream Yourself to
While I can't say anything predominantly "bad" about this
disc, Black Eyed Angel, there neither isn't too much shiningly grand to
announce either. It's just kind of there being pretty good. Probably one
of the better reincarnations of moody basement-spun goth rock anywhere today,
even. But because the genre has been so beat to death since the 70s, there
isn't much here that will make you go "yay!" except, of course, for the fact
that Second Skin are still playing for those of you that still want to (or are
just discovering and want to) see old school done live.
(1) Reviewed back
in Legends #104.
Post: PO Box E, Scottsdale, AZ 85232, USA