My Skin Against Your Skin have gone exponential on us. In this, their second EP release, they've grown from a 2 song sizzler to a 4 track blast. Double the rock, double the fun. Double whoop! Whoop whoop!!
GigGuide.tw has happily documented MSAYS' live prowess on several occasions - they've more than proven themselves - so as they endeavor to record their charged sound, the only question in my mind is, exactly how good will it be?
Answer: damn good.
The default description of MSAYS's music might be Yeah Yeah Yeahs-esque, but that is not quite it, in my mind, given that the YYY's present sound has become a kind of a sonic lite beer. (It's still fine, I guess, but they've lost the raw edge I loved on Fever To Tell). Giving airtime to the MSAYS EP during my DJ sets, I've found this new set of songs fits solidly alongside such bands as Fugazi, TV on the Radio, Bloc Party, and The Dead Weather. I think the latter, Jack White's other other band, is a more apt comparison, in terms of aggression and temperament. While The Dead Weather is more overtly blues-based, there is a similar attitude that comes across. In listening to the EP, particularly on Man In Uniform, the spirit of PJ Harvey looms before me, too. All three artists, White, Harvey, and MSAYS vocalist Andrea Huang explore the dynamics of love and hate with a cynical vulnerability, exposing their fierce desires to have a fragile core (with a touch of wit on the side).
On first listen, My Skin Against Your Skin are heavier than I recall, but then again, one can't help indulging in admiration for Andrea's keen style and histrionic performances onstage. The band is a happy marriage of both style and substance, as bassist Yu Se Lu dishes out thick riff after thick riff, from 邁向崩毀黎明的年代 to the bad-ass strutting of Romantic Brain. MSAYS bring it.
Filming a slick video for the opening song Good as their first PR strike is certainly a smart move - the song rocks - but my favorite tracks may well be Man In Uniform and Romantic Brain. Why? These driving numbers display much of Andrea's talent for melodic hooks and phrasing. From growls, gasps, pouts, purrs, whispers, curses, and coos, they're really loaded. And catchy, too.
The production side of the EP is solid, as well. There are no gimmicks, distractions, or deficiencies. It's just a full, balanced mix, and for a simple man like me, that's what I want: a fair opportunity for a band to present itself unencumbered, to stand or fall on the merits of its songs, skill, and soul.
MSAYS can indeed stand tall and proud - they have undergone some significant transformations in the past 12 months, trimming down to a 3-piece (with energetic drummer Tsai Chen Han joining in the fun) and coming out leaner and meaner for it. This is a hungry band, and I know they're not content to merely survive. Noting the great care and attention the band puts into their work, from songwriting to showmanship, they clearly aspire to bigger and better things. And that's excellent news for the rest of us. Who doesn't want to experience a great band busting its ass to kick yours?
*Note: This EP is only available directly from MSAYS at their shows. Upcoming gigs are listed to the side of this review. Enjoy!