How to describe it . . . Starting with a base hard-rock sound, the band builds addictively catchy songs that blend in elements of trip-hop, a little U2-ish orchestral sweetening, funk, even some punk thrash. Over this musical gumbo, Skin's amazingly flexible vocals attack topics from the standard bad-relationship-blues to race, gender, and religious pondering. Smart lyrics and outstanding production aside, Skin is the main attraction. She can sound like a Tracy Chapman-esque folkie, a gospel siren, a classically trained soprano, and the second coming of Iron Maiden. Sometimes all in the same song. I've never heard anyone, man or woman, black or white, cover such a range of emotion and style. The Amazon critic says this album is too eclectic - I heartily disagree. If every song was the hard-thrash of "On My Hotel TV," the rants would get tiresome. If it was all beautiful ballads like "Secretly," it would put you to sleep. As it is, each track is a surprise, often a revelation. Skunk Anansie should be congratulated for their dexterity and diversity, not criticized for it.
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