The sunny beaches of Bournemouth struggle to produce such sunny beats on this eccentric EP by STOCKSNSKINS.
For a group whose artist inspiration list contains The Doors and Ghost Poet you think you’re in for a dynamic lyrical experience. This is not the case.
I almost felt like this EP was a parody like People Just Do Nothing or MC Devvo, but it is serious and you can hear the intention to be like artists such as The Streets and Sleaford Mods.
The intention of word-driven and emotive think-pieces are at the heart of STOCKSNSKINS’ sound but, the lyrical choices themselves, especially from the get-go in the opening track Coming Down, feel like shouting into the void. The delivery itself is well in time with the erratic time signatures that are seen throughout the EP, but I don’t feel like the group is really saying anything and they’ve just hit record and tried to see what comes to light.
The synth in the opening number doesn’t give me the impression that I’m about to get into something serious anyway. Sleaford Mods have a clash of sound and words that are obscure and adventurous, but STOCKSNSKINS are a long way from reaching such a songwriting level.
Long Shadows tries to grab the nostalgic slow and emotional style that The Streets did so well, but the production is so messy and harsh on the ears when it comes to the instrumentation. This is heard throughout a lot of the EP where beats sound like a hi-hat that is falling apart. Whilst you’re already having a difficult time keeping up with and trying to make sense of the lyrics, you’re being battered by muddy sounds and ferocious clashing.
One element that was great to take away from was the bass guitar that kept a groovy and yet rhythmic flow in the background of the track. The playing had post-punk stylings of both the 70s and modern era that drew me in more than anything. If the band were to review their instrumentation, don’t change anything about the bass guitar, it’s raw and exciting.
What I would like to see from the band besides better lyricism and production, is more vocal effects as a lot of dialogue is repeated and feels as though every word has to be said with such desperation to fill in the blanks. If there were delay and loop effects on the vocals it would give both the vocalist a break and show another experimental side to the group. I think it would impact the song a lot more to let a vocalist step away from the mic and not have to endlessly repeat what they are saying until the song fades out.
I wish I could say there was a lot more I liked at STOCKSNSKINS five-track EP, but from the first second, I knew this sound and style was doomed to fail. I think the band should keep at it and work on their sound and who knows we might be here again to have another crack at it.