We picked Skin & Bones, as one of our acts that will take 2016 as their own. The Californian duo are doing just that on their debut EP, Ghost In This Town.
Debut releases after attention seeking singles, are always risky business. Some people just want the same debut single, repeated in different styles; while others expect some wildly, thought provoking change in sound completely. But to judge each song on Skin & Bones EP as “Bad Feeling II-V” would be ridiculous, while expecting a cross between Mumford & Sons and Depeche Mode would just be beyond stupid.
Skin & Bones utilise their debut release, the way any new group should do. Ghost In This Town displays in just enough detail, the evoking emotion of which Skin & Bones’ luscious artistry can achieve, without repeating previous work, or expanding too quickly.
The opener of the same title, begins this twenty+ minute EP in a harmonious fashion, rising quietly with Taylor’s calm, husky vocals, in complete unison with his acoustic guitar, before Peter’s intimate Violin work welcomes in the classical take on Americana/folk that made the duo an instant hit here on Velvet.
While it may begin as a sweet lullaby, Ghost In This Town then transforms into an enigmatic beauty, as Taylor’s lyrics portray a world of loss and conflict, but yet the combination of a variety of string sections, in turn creates a satisfying piece, which could easily ignite an eternity for lovers.
Taylor’s downtrodden lyrics then progress onto the eponymous Bad Feeling, the track which sold Skin & Bones as future stars from the word go, as the likes of country and rock ‘n’ roll come together to create an energetic, awe inspiring classic.
The idea of music which causes pure silence, as it commands complete attention, whether that be from howling vocals or spiralling guitars, together with well executed string sections, is the exact stance Ghost In This Town achieves throughout its twenty+ minutes.
Mr. Dark captures the essence of a truly great acoustic piece, one of which could find itself, easily placed upon a major networks season closing episode, forever becoming entwined as a part of history. Ain’t No Water similar achieves TV status, as the tension hanger title, breaking itself up into what seems to be much longer than its four and a half minute running time.
Then as Ghost In This Town reaches its end, Pointing and Laughing provides a final blast of Skin & Bones’ magic, perfectly capturing the balance between calming waves, which rises just enough to provide a quick burst of excitement and joy, before quietly settling into a picturesque setting.
As Ghost In This Town plays through, the original ‘brow raising running time doesn’t seem like enough, as each track leaves a void within. Where once pessimistic attitudes and optimistic dreams laid, a state of blissful tenderness remains, as Skin & Bones provide the intense Americana that was expected and hoped for, yet now it leaves me in a confused state of mind. Do I want more Skin & Bones? Am I ready for more, or do I just keep this on repeat? The answer to all of those questions will of course, be a resounding yes.