reviewed by Michael Gallagher
Whenever I listen to a band – particularly bands that are new – there are a few things I look for. Does the band have a cohesive sound? Do they share the same artistic vision? Are these guys (or girls) making what they want to be making, or is there something missing? When a band is tight and together on a project, good things happen, and you can hear it even as a listener. So, when I turned on Skinny Kids the self-titled album from the self-described “reverb drenched surf stompers from Vancouver” I asked myself those very same questions, and the answer was a resounding yes.
Skinny Kids are what they say they are; there is reverb on every corner of every guitar track, and the drums certainly get your feet moving, but thankfully that isn’t where it ends. Every track on the six song album seems carefully planned out, with punchy bass lines where they need to be, and drum fills at all the right times.
The result is a sound that feels polished and planned, refusing to include songs that simply don’t fit thematically on the record, something that plagues many independent acts across the world.
When it comes to planning and production, the arrangement of each song really shows off the talents of the band members. Often neglected, the bass guitar in almost every track is well-written and helps flesh the song out wonderfully. In particular, “Love Cult” and “Small Room” are great examples of the fine-tuned bass lines put into Skinny Kids’ songs. In fact, the bass lines are so good that I often felt they were neglected in the overall mix of the songs, but that might have just been me.
Regardless, it is clear Skinny Kids is a band that knows what they are doing, and knows what kind of music they want to make. In doing so, each of the tracks on Skinny Kids feels familiar to one another, and makes it easy to complete the less than 20 minute album.
Unfortunately, this familiarity is also what holds Skinny Kids back, as the songs start to blend together more and more with each listen. Each track is tight and polished, but at its core doesn’t have the melodic power to make it stay in your head.
In particular, the choruses of most of the songs don’t seem to distinguish themselves enough from the verses, significantly lessening the overall impact of the song on the listener. Even “Cool Fetish Girls” the song with arguably the most noticeable chorus, starts off catchy but quickly becomes stale, blending in with the rest of the album.
While it is a seemingly small issue for an otherwise well-rounded album, the songs lacking a strong differentiating sound, or a catchy hook, ends up really holding Skinny Kids’ back from having a longer lasting impression. Still, the songs as a whole are still quality, and the bands energy in the recordings makes it easy to imagine even more stage presence during a live set. It is likely as they continue to practice and produce music, this too will go away.
Undoubtedly Skinny Kids is still definitely worth popping into your car’s old cassette player and driving around aimlessly, and for three dollars there isn’t much stopping you.
Top Tracks: “Love Cult”, “Small Room”
Rating: Proud Hoot ( Really Good)