Data in a hurry (Wasp Factory Records)
~reviewed by Steph
Wasp Factory Records is a rough 'n ready kinda place, full of dodgy characters like The Chaos Engine and other merry purveyors of noise and mayhem. In the midst of this madness sit Skinflowers, the (dare I say it?) Radiohead for the new millennium. They are the exception that proves the rule, the calm at the eye of the storm.
The very Radioheadesque opening track, "Transatlantic Love Song", is a gentle melody of acoustic guitars and charmingly reedy vocals in the best indie rock tradition.
The whimsical beginning of "Eschalotogy" soon gives way to subtle, churning guitar chords that anchor the chorus firmly. In an interesting move, the guitars drop away almost entirely to make rooms for the vocals, thus not forcing these two key elements to compete with one another.
The one drawback to the delicate nature of Skinflowers sound is that could well come off sounding fragile and a bit precious, and happily, the band rescue themselves from this fate with the low-key glam guitar chords and sardonic vocal delivery of "Clever boy", a snarky little ditty that leads me to believe that Skinflowers have been known to listen to Placebo now and again.
Skinflowers describe themselves as "Fine purveyors of awkward rock", and they are. "Data in a Hurry" is an awkward album to review, simply because Skinflowers are not a singles band. There are no obvious hits on the album, but rather a collection of deceptively simple, melodic songs that reveal their quirks, idiosyncrasies and dark underbellies after repeated listenings. There is a slyly deliberate self-conciousness to the band's presentation of themselves.
[3/4 song about teeth] is an oddly meandering
track with a somnolent backbeat that leads perfectly into the album's closer,