Written By: Maria Arroyo
The Brooklyn-based indie/folk-rock band, GIRL SKIN, is releasing their debut album, Shade is on the other side, on April 17th, which is actually inspired by the “unorthodox” life of their singer/songwriter, Sid Simons. Instead of finishing high-school, Simons traveled from Portland, Australia to New York, then to Shanghai and even took a 2-month tour around North America. The other members of the band include Sophie Cozine, Stan Simons, Ruby Wang, Noah Boling, and Wyatt Mones. They describe their sound like a culmination of “fragile folk and delicate art rock to create ethereal chamber-pop songs that are unafraid to wear their vulnerable hearts on their sleeve.”
Starting the album off is “Forever & Always”, which is one of the first singles released for the album. It starts off with a really retro-sounding feel, with hints of psychedelic rock. “Forever & Always” is a retro fluid song and almost has a soft psychedelic feel to it. “Darling” is a softer song that is paired with a beautiful piano arrangement. The harmonies work well with all of the different instrumentation, and their voices blend together seamlessly. The different sections work well with one another which makes for a more cohesive song. “Bite Real Hard” is a great example of how their sound manages to stay consistent, but they can add different ideas to keep things interesting.
The first major turning point happens in “Soft Gun” because the whole ambiance surrounding the song has shifted. The song became more emotionally driven, and the tone of the instrumentation changed to follow that. Following that same approach are the next two songs “The Path” and my personal favorite, “Night-Time.” This particular song reminded me of a lullaby. I imagined myself listening to this song to ease any stress or frustrations, and to clear my head. There is a beautiful string arrangement that really adds to the whole serine-like feel that I got from this song. The harmonies could not be any better, and the melodic contour in their voices is unbelievably seamless.
Continuing with a more intimate approach is their next song “You’re A Freak.” I really got the sense that this is an extremely personal and painful song. I think it definitely has the potential to be an anthem for some people who might feel isolated in their own life. “She Said” really did a great job of blending all of the nuances that this album is made up of into one song. There are a lot of layers being folded back as we dive further into the song.
Closing out the album is “The Last Ever Song.” I definitely think it was an interesting ending for many reasons, but at the end of the day, it was the best choice. It really became the best culmination of their ideas from previous songs as a sendoff for this album. The choice of a more intimate and acoustic ending is something I didn’t expect but worked so well!
Simons shares what he wants these 11 songs to be for people listening. “I wanted these songs to give listeners a layered experience… There’s the first intuitive reaction that I wanted to be joyful and optimistic. But then, as they listened further, other emotions would come to the fore: Darker, more complex emotions that give the breadth and depth of the songs. And I’m excited by the different interpretations people are having to the same song, some feeling the darker shades, others feeling the lighter ones.” I can without a doubt say, that I definitely got that same feeling. Being able to translate a vision so clearly can be very difficult to do, especially through a medium that is so open to many different interpretations. Shade is on the other side is a beautiful listen. There is so much to listen for, and I don’t think there’s a dull moment throughout. Give a listen for yourself, and be sure to keep up with them as they continue to show the world what they’re made of!
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