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Skin - 1994 Skin



ARTIST: Skin
ALBUM: Skin
LABEL: Parlophone
SERIAL: 7243 8 31177 2 7
YEAR: 1994
CD REISSUE: 1997, Victor (Japan), VICP-5840 * 2011, Rock Candy Records, CANDY118
SPONSOR: Rock Candy Records

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Neville MacDonald - vocals * Myke Gray - guitars * Andy Robbins - bass * Dicki Fliszar - drums

Guests: Jamie Jazz - keyboards * Richard Baker, Colin McLeod - hammond organ * Robert Mason - backing vocals * Fred White, Ricky Nelson, Lynda McGray, Alfie - gospel vocals * Madeleine Bell, Katie Kissoon, George Chandler - backing vocals 'Tower Of Strength'

TRACK LISTING: 01 Money * 02 Shine Your Light * 03 House Of Love * 04 Colour Blind * 05 Which Are The Tears * 06 Look But Don't Touch * 07 Nightsong * 08 Tower Of Strength * 09 Revolution * 10 Raised On Radio * 11 Wings Of An Angel * 12 Monkey (bonus) * 13 Should I Stay Or Should I Go (bonus) * 14 Pump It Up (bonus) * 15 Good Good Lovin' (bonus) * 16 This Planet's On Fire (bonus) * 17 Take It Easy (bonus) * 18 Take Me Down To The River (bonus)

WEBLINKS: www.skinfreak.co.uk


Background
British band Skin should've been high on my playlist and attention back in 1994, but sadly, never even got a look in. Fused by the combination of former Kooga man Neville McDonald, ex Jagged Edge six stringer Myke Gray and former Tokyo Blade and Shogun bassist Andy Robbins, Skin had more than a few credentials to pass the test. I put it down to a number of reasons (OK, excuses..), but the recent reissue by Rock Candy Records has put the band back into the spotlight again. Skin weren't a one-hit wonder so to speak. They did release a heap of music during their heyday. This is reflected by the amount of bonus material that features on this reissue CD, but then again, the timeframe that they operated in wasn't kind to the band, with fickle British audiences moving on to newer styles of rock which churned out the likes of Oasis to their adoring fans while hard rock outfits became anonymous. Skin would've been the exception to that rule back in 1994, as a curious observation of the UK charts will reveal..


The Songs
This CD has a heap of tracks.. 18 to be precise, 7 of which are bonus tracks as the original CD had 11 tracks listed. I won't review them all otherwise I'll be here all day. Skin specialise in high-octane groove based melodic rock, not as funky as an outfit such as Electric Boys, but then again Skin aren't too far away from what fellow Brits Little Angels and Thunder (UK) were dishing out, only with slightly more energy. Plus throw in a dash of Mr Big and you've got the template for the Skin sound.

That much is evident when listening to tracks like 'Money' which is a powerful intro, while the Billy Squier sounding 'Look But Don't Touch' is another to impress. 'Colourblind' has a Mr Big vibe, with its singalong acoustic intro. Though the songtitle might be familiar to AORsters, 'Raised On Radio' is a rowdy anthem with no connection to Journey! There's only one real ballad on this selection, 'Which Are The Tears' which throws in some organ and gospel like backing vocals for a different effect.

The bonus tracks are songs taken from several EP's during 1994. We get the tribal beats blasting out of 'Monkey' before ripsnorting its way into a furious rocker. The Mr Big flavoured anthem 'Good Good Lovin' is a funtime workout. The two most interesting songs here are the cover of The Clash's 1981 chestnut 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go', given a melodic rock revamp that might make Joe Strummer go for the double face-palm. But you know what? The Skin version sounds damn cool and is a pretty raucous attempt in any case. Also covered is Elvis Costello's 'Pump It Up', a track which appeared on his 1978 album 'This Years Model'. Again, Skin's version is high-energy stuff and a good choice for them to cover.


In Summary
It's clear that Skin weren't in the business as a one-off effort, nor did they come and go without fanfare. Nosiree.. The band toured the UK with the aforementioned Little Angels and Thunder (UK), The tracks 'Money' and 'Tower Of Strength' both made it onto the UK top 20 singles charts while the album went top 10. An impressive effort considering the blanket coverage of grunge during this timeframe. Skin would go on to release many more albums over the years, their most recent being an independent offering 'Breaking The Silence' from 2010. There have been a few unusual selections within the Rock Candy catalogue and 'Skin' would rank right up there among them, but kudos to Derek Oliver for giving this band an increased profile among the melodic rock/AOR faithful.


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Comments
#1 | rkbluez on July 14 2012 02:03:39
Great album...glad Rock Candy did this one...and with all the bonus stuff you can't go wrong...this band kicks!
 
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