Monday, September 15, 2014

REVIEW: Skinny Dipper - Masks EP

Summer may be nearly over, but it isn't so over that you can't enjoy Skinny Dipper.  And for this skinny dipping experience, you don't have to get wet or take off your clothes, although we have no objection if your preferences take you in that direction.  Skinny Dipper is an nine-piece group consisting of eight women and one man, and boasting some of the best vocals you'll hear on record this year.  Apparently Alex Kenzel (of Blochestra) and Vicki Cole (of Randolf's Leap) began the project as a personal songwriting exercise, but happily decided that the songs deserved a wider audience.  The project swelled with reinforcements from bands such as Randolph's Leap, Quickbeam,  Aerials Up, and Trapped In Kansas, leading to gigs, increased public profile, and now the five-track Masks EP on Olive Grove Records.

The instrumentation on this EP is full and varied, including two violins and a flugelhorn, as well as the usual guitar, drums and keyboard.  The melodies are divine, with cinematic scope, and the lead vocal and supporting harmonies could melt the coldest heart.  This little record will make both your sunny fall days and chilly nights better.  And while it is an auspicious debut, I suspect this assembly can go even higher with more time.

The opening track --

The closing track --

Skinny Dipper are Alex Kenzel (vocals), Vicki Cole (guitar), Heather Thikey (violin), Ali Hendry (flugelhorn), Gillian Higgins (keys and vocals), Cat Calton (violin), Ruth Campbell, Monika Gromek, and Iain Symes-Marshall.  Masks EP is out now in vinyl and digital formats.

Bandcamp for EP
Olive Grove Records

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