Reviews

Artists Of 2017: The Skins Promise To Keep You Awake In “Still Sleep EP”

I am living for The Skins. I saw them at House Of Yes, before I saw the spectacular Idgy Dean there, and they lit the stage with a wildness and freedom that intoxicated the audience. Part of what attracts people to youth and being young, is that hint of arrogance/confidence that is not overbearing or cruel. Instead, it is charming and hopeful. The young walk with an owned stride because they truly feel that the world is better because they are walking in it, and why not feel that way? It is those sentiments that The Skins exude both live and in their newest EP Still Sleep.

The Skins‘ Still Sleep has to be one of the most confident EPs of 2016. The entire record, lyrically, feel like the skins you grow and shed as your traverse life trying to find yourself, which makes sense. 
Bay-Li explained The Skins’ musical history as such, “My siblings and I are black kids out of Bed-Stuy who have rock roots that inform the dynamic pop music we play and write. We don’t just hit ‘play’ on stage; we actually know our way around the instruments. There are no backups. We own the stage. We just naturally are who we are. Get out of your comfort zone and give us a try.” And Bay-Li is not just making this statement, but embodying it. The Skins’ concert felt like an art-display of joy, youthfulness, and the freedom you can gain when you stop fighting yourself and decide to become yourself. The difference lies in that so often we try to mold ourselves according to others in terms of their behaviors or what we believe society wants from us. Yet, to be a cultural taste-maker, as The Skins plan to be, you have to influence the world more than be influenced by it. Still Sleep is the perfect example of how tapping into others’ artistic expressions is just a step, not a standard, to creating your own style. 
Bury Me

From ESG to Bow Wow Wow, The Skins have incorporate a worldliness to their Brooklyn sound. In House of Yes, they certainly appeared like the essence of NYC, colorful, flashy, and in love with life, but managed to show that those elements are not city-owned. They are a global phenomena that beat more in cities like, NYC, but are exuded through the cultural mindsets and music traditions people build for themselves. Hence, Still Sleep is an EP that combines the “traditions’  of pop, rock, soul, hip hop, and R&b to create a new culture based in the bigness and beauty of being one’s self, which is why the Still Sleep feels like a giant, dance club dedicated to celebrating life.

In each of Still Sleep’s tracks Bay-Li shows how her vocals were destined to make a hook catch an audience. In concert, her presence is a beacon of light flashing before your eyes, but on record, her voice is a sonic wave crashing on the sands of your mental beach. She takes over you completely, and vocally flows through her lyrics like an Olympian: ready to perform any move to keep you winning gold. From “I” where her rap flow is straight, smooth, and scintillating, to “Bury Me”, where she conquers D.R.A.M. with her powerhouse voice, Bay-Li is a clear star. Moreover, her harmonies with her sister Kaya Nico like, in “Stampede”, provide a ferocity that makes you actually want to cause one. Yet, each member of The Skins shines in concert with their prowess, playfulness, and altogether personality.

Stampede

The Skins are first and foremost family, and each shines, live, as a founding member of this band’s vivacious vibe. The Brooklyn quintet is comprised of three siblings—Bay Li [lead vocals], Kaya Nico [vocals, bass], and Reef Cole [drums]—and two friends who became “family” Daisy Spencer [guitar] and Russ Chell [guitar, synth]through the many school jams they played together. From high- school they went off to tour with the likes of Albert Hammons Jr., Jake Bugg, and The Heavy. As each plays to the other, the crowd, and for his or herself, you sense the love they have at created is not only from performing together for so long but BEING together. This connection explains why Still Sleep is the album you listen to with your friends.We all want music that soundtracks the times in our life when we let our guard down, and play, freely, with the people we choose to love: our friends. The Skins provide that in record and in show. For More Information On The Skins Click Here.  
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