Listening to SkiM’s first EP is like stumbling upon a secret jam session in a circus tent. The self-titled collection from the Boston-based alternative folk group is wild and experimental, throwing together standard folk instruments like violin, guitar and piano with the less familiar cajon and ankle bells. The tracks themselves are often directionally unconfined, as if the musicians were inspired to take new paths within the song.

Cameroon Wool Jacket,” which leads the EP, starts off with unorthodox harmonies and steady guitar, yet soon gives way to dissonant chords that are joined by jazzy violin. It’s almost as if the guitar has gone rogue, rejecting the gentle melodies of the vocalists and seeking new, more interesting friends. The vocals return, but this time in jaunty, playful rap verses that flirt with the bizarre: “We are Siamese if you please—no we isn’t / How about a Pekingese who grows maybe to his knees?”

Just as a circus has different acts, the tracks on SKIM are diverse and expansive. “Providence” starts out with a lazy, jazzy bass solo, while “Sugar Baby” boldly presents a fiddle riff. In “Winthrop Park,” we are taken to the scene of a blustery day with the unmistakable sound of footsteps. The band’s New England Conservatory of Music training shines through in the perfect pitches of the vocals and dexterous dancing of the instrumental solos.

Despite the novelty of this album, it feels messy—as if the band tried to fit every idea that they have ever had into their first 6-track EP. They would have been better served to reign in the chaos and to craft the songs more carefully, giving them direction and hooks. However, SkiM’s instrumental talent, creativity, and range show a lot of potential. Their vibrant music begs to be performed live. If they can focus their energy in future writing, they might just create something both innovative and memorable.

Album Review: SkiM - SKIM
PROS
  • Creative
  • Surprising
  • Skillful
CONS
  • Unfocused
  • Forgettable
6Untamed Potential

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