Sunday 24 August 2014

Skinny Dipper - Masks EP

Earlier on in the year I featured an interview with Lloyd and Halina from Olive Grove Records; a lovely organic DIY label from Glasgow. The duo's enthusiasm for new music in the city is infectious and I always keep an eye and an ear out for the music that they are either releasing or talking about.

The name of Olive Grove's latest signings caught my attention - Skinny Dipper. Who or what is a skinny dipper and do they like to skinny dip?!

Answering two of those questions the band say they are 'almost a girl group'. There are 8 girls and 1 lucky boy with a healthy background in groups like Randolph's Leap, Aerials Up, Quickbeam and Trapped In Kansas. So they have been around enough to know what they are doing.

Skinny Dipper, before the skinny dip

Masks is a gorgeous EP, perfect for the sunny Autumn day when it first entered my life. The production (Stuart MacLeod) captures the harmonies, melodies and feel of the music perfectly.

The 5-track EP is coming out on 12-inch vinyl and as a download on 8th September.

Landing openings proceedings and vocal harmonies combine with beats, violin and keyboards in a beautiful manner. The bands ear for pop shines through with catchy backing vocals following the first instrumental section and the whole song flows along.

The vocals that introduce Hospital Bed are absolutely beautiful (beautiful is a word that may be used a lot in reviews for Skinny Dipper). The band highlight their skills superbly on this song, capable of bursts of flowing melodies from nowhere.

Gentle guitars usher in the superbly titled The Kids Are Moving On. A soulful trumpet and slow considered percussion kick in at just the right moment. Skinny Dipper are in no rush, they know they are capable of moments of beauty and they inject them at just the right moments in this song. The closing instrumental is glorious, life affirming.

So swing fast and swing hard
For what you want to hold in your hands

Cellphones is nothing other than atmospheric ambience underpinning someone talking about Cellphones in a paranoid fashion. I was quite disappointed on first listen that this didn't go anywhere.

There is no surprise that the band opt to close the EP with Son Of A Mitch. Yet again the band show that they can fly and flow with the best of them in the exquisite closing section. I do hope to catch them live in full flight at some point in the not too distant future. The band play with fellow Olive Grove band Call To Mind at Stereo in September.

Skinny Dipper create moments of wonder on their debut EP. Definitely worth a dip (groan).

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