1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Blood, Women, Roses (Audio CD)
The debut album by (World of) Skin, released in 1987, is a collection of brooding lullabies, chilling hymns and eerie incantations. Piano, keyboards and drums dominate the orchestral arrangements although cello, strings, violins, viola and double bass - contributed by guest musicians - appear on certain tracks.
Besides the covers Cry Me A River and The Man I Love, all songs were written or cowritten by Michael Gira whilst Jarboe performs all lead vocals. A dark hymn with segments of spoken vocals, One Thousand Years, opens this disquieting album. Cry Me A River receives a particularly chilling interpretation where the voice ranges from a girlish soprano to a droning contralto over slowly undulating rhythms.
A collage of edgy drumbeats and what sounds like trumpet blasts follow on Come Out, while We'll Fall Apart has a majestic orchestral arrangement in which Jarboe's voice reaches new levels of intensity. Sinister gregorianesque backing vocals and echoing drums open Still A Child, after which the instrumentation settles down to chiming keyboards that accentuate the bluesy delivery.
The Gershwin song The Man I Love oscillates around striking piano patterns in delicate tinkling textures and thundering bass registers. Then, in Red Rose, soprano leads are juxtaposed with contralto backing vocals and ghostly sighs charged by atmospheric keyboards, a spectral sonic sculpture arhythmically disrupted by reverberating clangs and crashes.
The blood-curdling lullaby Blood On Your Hands is the only track not arranged around keyboards. This mid tempo number with its pounding, heavy drumbeats resembles the simultaneously sinister & sorrowful My Buried Child on The Great Annihilator. Both are chant-like incantations, Blood being a slowly building mournful wail with menacing undertone whilst Buried Child's robotic recital rides on an urgent, uptempo rhythm.
The gold-colored inner sleeve contains the lyrics of all but the two covers on one side and the credits and tracklist on the other. (World of) Skin's Shame, Humility, Revenge and Ten Songs For Another World are equally innovative and memorable. Unreleased pieces from the World of Skin sessions are available on Jarboe's 2-disc set A Mystery of Faith which was released in 2004.