EP REVIEW: The Reflecting Skin – ‘II’


The Reflecting Skin play Noise Rock. Now Noise Rock is part of a continuum of noisy chaotic music that includes Psych Grunge, Psych Garage, Doom, Sludge and others. Sometimes it’s hard to decide exactly where a band’s music actually sits; for example The Reflecting Skin fit some tinges of Psych Garage, Sludge and Doom into their sound. Sorry I got all kind of inappropriately analytic there, but I will carry on for a moment. With any of these noisy chaotic types of music, which you may dismiss as sounding all the same, and ‘just non-musical loud guitars and shouting’, the enjoyment comes in the nuance of that noise – the dynamics, the different sounds, the moments of locked in swirling sounds. This is why they don’t all sound the same and it isn’t just loud guitars and shouting.

In ‘Irreversible damage’ the band take Punk to its inevitable extreme. Raw punky riffs, vocals at the edge of shouting, tempos that speed up and slow down in a seemingly random way. The sound is at times dense and at times not. But this track is the first indication of one of the bands defining sounds – the drums. They sit high in the mix and thud as though recorded in a completely dead room.

‘Loose Hiss’ takes that sound, speeds it up, adds in a whole ton of Garage. It’s like being hit in the face by a heavy thing repeatedly. Man. I love this.

In ‘Grimace’ we hear a different sound. It has more of a Sludge/Doom/Psych Garage feel. I’m imagining here, if you wanted to know, some sort of unholy mix of The Stooges and Samothrace on acid. The track never seems to sit at one tempo for long, it speeds up, slows down, and speeds into a swirling maelstrom of sound that is both disturbing and mind-blowingly good.

Yes, this loud, yes it has heavy guitars. But immerse yourself in this, and you’ll hear nuance. The tempo changes are astounding and exhilarating. The guitar sounds are as varied as you want. The power of the band when they lock is incredible.

The overall effect of the three tracks on this EP is unsettling, there’s a darkness in the sound. However I like being unsettled and disturbed by music. I like music that comes at me in full face confrontation. I love music that dares me to dive into it, to listen with your soul rather than your head. Listen to it with that in mind, and you’ll get it.

‘II’ is bloody fantastic. The Reflecting Skin are bringing the noise in their own way, their own way. Crank it up, and turn off your head, let yourself go.

The EP is available for digital download and on cassette via Bandcamp.

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Frank is the website guy for Local Sound Focus. Takes a lot of photos and loves writing about new music.