There’s a fairly new band on the local scene trying their luck with a (slightly) familiar sound that we at RR have been asked to review. Bournemouth based Stocks ‘n Skins have a new release out entitled “Protective Environment”; and with Post/Punk being one of many genres used to describe them I was immediately intrigued, which is where it kicks off. “Clogged Up” opens unapologetically with a Post/Punk/Electro beat, allied to an echoey vocal delivery. That vocal; and the subsequent lyrical content is delivered slightly disjointed, but I feel this may just be deliberate. The song decries a vision and observation of Southall life and said vocal becomes more of a rant. The beats within the song structure echo the early 80’s, but I find the fadeout ending a little strange. A decent opening track though which sets their stall out early.
“Jimmy” stays in similar territory with a spoken word vocal; telling a story of someone living in Boscombe. Again the loops/beats/keys are evident, given that the song lyrically has a strange undercurrent-severely lacking in any positivity! I’m guessing this is a somewhat autobiographical ode to a friend; I’m just waiting for it to lighten up, which it doesn’t! The one saving grace is the definite nod towards Visage and “Fade to Grey”, but that’s about all.
“Mr. Sleep Taker” remains in the same vein, although loses the negativity of its predecessor. Again the Visage sound is apparent and (pardon the pun) but the song is best described as strange! The disjointed style again is employed here but where it goes is a complete mystery to me?!
‘Pop Is Dead’ and so it starts again. This time round there’s a nod to Joy Division in the basslines; coupled with more 80’s sampling, while the vocals at times are frantic. The bridge (if I can call it that) just morphs into the songs conclusion. Lyrically it has its own observations, which I for one concur with; “Pop” is indeed Dead and keeping it “live and real” is a notion I allude to.
“Rejection” takes this 5 song collection to its conclusion. Once again the subject matter screams negativity, a running theme hear I feel. Whether deliberate or purely coincidental it doesn’t fill prospective new listeners with any feelings of happiness or humour. Then again, that may just be the point.
I won’t try and pigeonhole Stocks n Skins-that’s for others. And if I saw them live I may change my opinion and just “get it”! But as a starting point I shall remain open minded and suggest there’s ‘more in the tank’. One has to admire these guys for not just going down the tried and tested covers route. The beauty of original music is just that – it’s original. I will leave you the listener to decide, but for now I wish them well.
Adrian – vocals
Pop Is Dead
Review by Ross A. Ferrone.