CD Review

Second Skin – “Black Eyed Angel”

By Marcus Pan

Black Eyed AngelRecently 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 Sleep.

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.
Contact Information:
Euphoria Records
Post: PO Box E, Scottsdale, AZ 85232, USA