Ever since the untimely break up of Skunk Anansie, time has shown that their material has aged very well. Some would say not at all. Skin’s debut solo album is an absolute treat, for really unexpected reasons. Fleshwounds is a scaled down, simplified vocal treat. There’s still the odd hint of Skunk Anansie poetics, with lines such as “can’t see you through your blinding words”. But that really is all that remains for Skunk Anansie fans. ‘The Trouble With Me’ could easily be a Mel C song, except that Mel C could never come up with something so good. For someone who once sang “yes it’s fucking political, everything’s political”, “the trouble with me is my troubles with you” sounds like Lisa Stansfield, but in a good way. ‘I’ll Try’ is David Gray done well. Fleshwounds is a trip through everything that’s acceptable about modern pop. ‘You’ve Made Your Bed’ is so straight-up that it’s actually quite moving. Perhaps it’s the lack of a gargantuan guitar riff à la Stoosh that makes you take her seriously. Nothing ever kicks in, and you’re left with a line as simple as “You can’t keep turning to me, when she ain’t coming home” hitting home simply because it doesn’t turn into a mosh-fest. Towards the end Fleshwounds becomes more adventurous, both with it’s pace and it’s mix of styles. Just when it seemed like amps had been banned from the studio, ‘As Long As That’s True’ provides one verse where Skin nearly lets fly, but as soon as your head has begun to nod, it’s over. This really is a seriously well-judged, modest album. The final track ‘Till Morning Comes’ is a top-drawer jazz vocal piece. It actually made me think of the way Lou Reed ended Transformer. I don’t know where the fuck she pulled this one from but it forces you to take someone called ‘Skin’, seriously. Quite an achievement. If all pop albums were this well measured and made with this degree of subtlety, the world would be a better place. David Gray would be out of a job, and The Stereophonics would be hanging from a gibbet. Out June 2
ARCHIVE: 4th week TT 2003