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The Lee Kwo blog reviews 'The Unquiet Grave'

The Lee Kwo blog reviews 'The Unquiet Grave'

1 July 2011

I bought my copy of 'The Unquiet Grave' last week and I have listened to it several times. Its a remarkable production with each track standing alone and yet a sense of continuity so that one gets the impression of one song leading to another as in a passage of text.

The subtle backing tracks the percussion/beat box really support rather than override the vocals and keyboards and this creates the gothic sadness that pervades the album/a sense of the compositions dream like internal logic which is the emotional revelation of the composers feelings unfolds subversively but not in a self indulgent manner.

The lyrics are sparse and clever and stay in the unconscious at the end of the tracks. 'The Birthday Party' had this impact on my sensibilities and I resonated with it and the chorus remained on the abstract threshold of my mind for days afterwards. The signature tune 'The Unquiet Grave' is a great opening track and sets the mood for the rest of the CD the voice and technique and tones of the keyboards fit perfectly and continue through the other tracks.

Alien Skin's  vocals are quite unique and flow through a limited register of tones somewhere between singing and an organic space of symbolic, almost dreamlike allegory; a harbour of secret paradise, singing a poem or a liturgy if you will.
The stripped back restraint becomes mesmerising and overwhelms the imagination until you enter the world of 'The Unquiet Grave' and its cold isolation to quote the titles of two of the tracks. There is a sense of confrontation with death and an exhumation of the inevitability of an end to our short time in this life. The mix is excellent and the various effects and working of the androgynous vocals breaks up the steady flow of the music. I was pleasantly surprised at the more dramatic interludes of sound; some almost industrial effects. These give the compositions a tension and momentum that counter acts with the dramatic melancholic flow of the music itself. For things are what we feel they are. The absence of a bass guitar line does not detract from the dynamics.

A great passage of work Alien Skin, a masterful use of your instruments and clever compositions and story lines makes for a excellent listen as with all your work.

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