CD Review

Things Outside the Skin - “You Knew it All Along”

By Marcus Pan

You Knew it All AlongThings 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 refreshingly unique.

Contact Information:
Things Outside the Skin
Post: PO Box 263, Greenpoint Station, Brooklyn, NY, 11222-0263, USA
Phone: (718) 250-5809
E-Mail: things@outside-the-skin.com
Web: www.outside-the-skin.com
(1) Reviewed in Legends #151.
(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 Legends #102.