Album Review: Winter Skin | Eep
We are in the middle of November, at the beginning of winter – my least favorite time of the year. The whole past week has been gray and cloudy, which is rare for Greece, but at least we have music. For what would we do without it? Luckily I came across the latest Eep album, an absolute alt rock gem, which made everything a bit more vivid and lively. Pressing 'Play'>
The stomping kicks of the opener ‘Hanging On a Wire’ make for an explosive jam that somehow feels like climaxing endlessly from start to finish. It’s powerful and speedy like a herd of iron horses galloping into a vortex of kickdrums, bass and guitar. There’s a psychedelic quality to it and an amazing nerve to the vocals, giving you a hard time to mentally remain in this world. I was instantly transferred in front of a stage of a smashing pre-Covid live show overflowing with energy. Same goes for ‘No Inbetween’ sounding like an extension of the previous, a bit more pop until the bridge hits and it becomes rock again. Let’s call it ‘Dream Rock’. The romantic flavored ‘A Message To You' brings a dreamy vibe to the table thanks to the ethereal vocals reverberating into a chaotically beautiful mix that makes you wonder how does everything sound so clear yet so faded. Needless to say that we are doing with a super rich production here that sounds huge yet not over-produced and, after listening to ‘Angeles’, let me say epic. The 'big', primal percussion and overall perspective of this one will make you stop and stare into nothingness. ‘Angeles’ will take you centuries back, floating above ancient cities and long gone civilizations. And then I'm wow-ed by the fact that the official music video for 'Angeles', which I decided to watch later on, shows my exact perspective on the track. I could not be more accurate with this. The choirs that open and close the track on their own make for a chilling experience and the most memorable moment, personally speaking. For me, darkness always wins in music even though ‘Angeles’, besides its melancholy, leaves you with a bright, hopeful taste. It’s very interesting how ‘Today I Woke Up’ comes to seal my previous statement as another primitive piece, this time with folklore-ish, -Fever Ray debut style- vocals that give off a heavier tribal ambience, like a chant calling the spirits of the sun or rain. This would make a fitting soundtrack for Vikings if the show was dwelling less on the dark side. I loved the way Eep decided to put this couple of tracks in the middle of the album like a break before we get back to where we started.
The line ‘If we turn around and go back to where we started, we just might understand all the reasons why we parted’ is repeating itself to eternity in ‘Stubblefield’, literally giving me a headache which later on transforms into a state of trance and ends up feeling like a fading illusion. It’s like Gaspar Noe’s 'Enter The Void' but make it Shoegaze. The abstraction of ‘Stargazer’ follows ‘Stubblefield’ fittingly, making another duo of similar-mooded tracks placed together. But ‘Stargazer’ offers something completely different. It’s all over the place, it never settles, it’s forever transforming itself like its fluid and by no means easy to digest. You just have to go with the flow and let yourself fall into the arms of the unknown. As a Bjork fan, I’d kill to have more of this in Winter Skin but it actually feels like a generous bonus by the band for us weirdos. And ‘Time Crunch’ is proof, holding the true essence of the bands vision for the album: Bad-ass chords, fast paced kicks and ecstatic vocals (I've been watching- watching you, watching you go...), overwhelmingly building themselves til they reach the heavens. The airy synths and velvety vocal performance in ‘Slow Down’ make this a healing closure, unlike anything we’ve heard until now. The birds chirping here and there in this soothing piece of paradise combined with the flutes closing the track is the best thing that could happen. Not expected but much needed, 'Slow Down' is showing how a blazing band like Eep can give you hot magma and tenderness in one cohesive body of work. It's pure magic.
All in all, Winter Skin is a euphoric listening, a reminder of the fire burning inside us, one that is struggling to stay alive through the weird times we live in. It's instrumentally abundant, vocally transcending and production-wise brilliant. There's nothing more to ask for. Eep created an acid trip to support our survival through the winter and an album that begs to be played live in front of a huge audience in celebration of our regained freedom. Amen.
Enjoy Winter Skin here: