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Peter Hammill - Skin CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

3.00 | 136 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars I figured it would be fun to review all the Peter Hammill albums that I have, and decided to work backward in time. Right now I'm revisiting many of his '80s albums, and it's been tough. This decade saw Hammill repeating himself too often, certainly more than he does in his more divergent '90s output. 'Skin' appeared in 1985 and possesses all the failures of his other weak albums from this period: thin, brittle digital-age production; depressing and droning vocal delivery; lack of energy. That said, 'Skin' does have a few redeeming moments, even offering a more organic recording approach on stuff like "Four Pails" and "Now Lover". It seems to radically increase in quality during the back half, starting with "You Hit Me Where I Live". "Four Pails" is the most musically spare song on the album, the mood is rich with reflection, acting as a perfect vehicle for Hammill's sober laments. The album ends with "Now Lover", which would've fit on earlier albums such as 'The Future Now' or 'A Black Box'. The first half is a quietly churning bit of tension, opening up in the final half toward the most organic and prog-ish sequence on the album. Beautiful, withering saxophone melancholy is reeled off in the final minutes (I assume it is David Jackson playing, but my vinyl copy doesn't come with any kind of credits).

Your patience with the 5 or 6 bland songs ("Painting By Numbers" being a particularly grating listen) will be rewarded with a few peak moments in the album's later stages. The unremarkable tunes are typical of Hammill's output from this era. If you're a fan/follower, you'll know what to expect when I say that. If you're a newcomer to Hammill, it just means you should probably investigate his much better '70s work before entering his precarious '80s era.

slipperman | 2/5 |


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