Things Outside the Skin - You Knew it All
By Marcus Pan
Things Outside the Skin push
out their 3rd full length with You Knew It All Along (Facility Records).
A November 2005 tour is planned. Based in Brooklyn, the threesome of Chvad SB
(vox/synths/guitar), Blight (bass) and Tim Durland (drums) can be found
shredding NYC clubs fairly often. At first listen, You Knew it All Along
seemed lopsided when taken as a whole, with strange workings, fluffy high
melodies at times and funky covers but after a few spins it's apparent
that Things Outside the Skin aren't your typical outfit.
At first the opening track American Way immediately
reminded me of Quite a Dilemma era Bunker Soldier(1) only a bit more
serious. With a rap-centric style, heavily vox-laced, and groovy accompaniments
American Way is a refreshing piece of songwriting with everything from
the well layed out tracking to the spit-style metal-dirged vocals laced with
contempt and more than a bit of "I've had enough" attitude.
Mettle IV: Programmed Apathy however takes things
into a heavier industrial deepness. One of the best things about their work is
the lyrical content splittingly angry and blindingly dark, the lyrics
alone are worth the price of admission. With such rants as Cow Tippin'
to the government blasting of American Way, this is one of those CDs
where you want to read the jacket along with the music. Vocal style is
SMP-like(2), but muted with a more underground feel. Everything from government
to commercialism is discussed or railed at throughout You Knew
it All Along. Lyrics take you to twisted and enjoyable directions as well
such as in The Most Appealing Thing ("It appeals to me but can't reveal
to me") or So Emotional Tao ("Music is Amotional").
It's a long album as well 22 tracks long. I'd
consider less than half as full song offerings, the rest being strange covers
(Spice Up Your Life, Going Under), radio edits of previous tracks and
remixes by such acts as Headache, Flood Damage and The Gothsicles among others.
The Going Under track is a dreamy modernistic take on Devo.
Things Outside the Skin's You Knew it All Along is
strange but surprising, mixing up drum 'n bass rhythms, Devo-esque lyrics,
industrial melodies and a healthy dose of spite. Some of the better lyrics I've
read in a while, as good as favorites like Lucid Dimentia(3) or Noxious
Emotion(4), and while the album doesn't profess anything extraoridinarily new
it certainly takes the best of what's already been there to create something
Things Outside the
Post: PO Box 263, Greenpoint Station, Brooklyn, NY, 11222-0263, USA
Phone: (718) 250-5809
(1) Reviewed in
(2) SMPs Terminal was
reviewed in Legends #104.
(3) Their latest, The List, was
reviewed in Legends #143.
(4) One of my favorites, see their
interview from way back in Legends
#89 and the review of their latest work, Elements, in