Album Reviews

Skin – Fleshwounds

(EMI) UK release date: 9 September 2003

Skin - Fleshwounds Skunk Anansie made an impression in the latter ’90s with their unflinching brand of rock music and virulently energetic live stage performances. But what really set this act apart from the crowd was black female lead singer Skin – and what a presence she was.

The Skunks went their separate ways two years ago, and now Skin is back on her own terms. She’s certainly taken her time to put together this debut album, but it appears to have been a break well spent.

While Skin’s former four-piece Skunk Anansie was loud, grinding and peddled the raw end of politics, the solo singer has shifted from such extremes.

Fleshwounds is an intensely personal, human album, which has prompted quite an incredible musical shift. Lead single Trashed is a song all about the end of a relationship, which comes straight from the singer’s own experience. As a piece of music, it is accomplished and every inch a tune with mass appeal. Skin’s vocal prowess has strengthened and matured since the heady days of Skunk Anansie, and remains unmistakable and distinct.

This musician has come up with some original and distinctive tunes on her solo debut. Strong opener Faithfulness is a rich, slightly dark rock-pop concoction with a fine chorus and delicious production values.

Skin’s vocals remain subtle and beautifully controlled – a far cry from the spat out political rants of old. You’ve Made Your Bed is a spine chiller of a tune with sparse instrumentation, with Skin’s voice gently passionate and haunting. Skunk fans will be glad to know that Skin hasn’t left her rock sensibilities behind – Listen To Yourself is a simple pop tune which grinds along with ease.

The softer Skin has hit a rich vein of accomplished music very swiftly. She has slipped effortlessly into the mainstream, but has the panache and individuality to stand out. Some may say Skin has gone too far too quickly, but the transformation has created an album which makes its mark.

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More on Skin
Skin – Fleshwounds
Skunk Anansie’s Skin: “It was different for people to see me open, exposed and intimate” – Interview
Skin @ Scala, London