Artist: Alien Skin
CD Title: The Unquiet Grave
Label: A Different Drum
Where to buy: www.cdbaby.com
Reviewer: Scott Sweet
In the 80's, you probably heard "Send Me an Angel" so often that Heaven imposed a draft just to meet the demand. The band was Real Life, with George Pappas on keyboard. He continues as Alien Skin with "The Unquiet Grave" (not related to Cleopatra's goth compilation series). If you like Depeche Mode or Martin Gore's solo work, Alien Skin is a close fit. Gentle, vibrato-laden singing with moody synthpop.
The album starts with a cover of the anonymous traditional ballad "The Unquiet Grave". For fun, play this version and Faith and the Muse's version in either order. They're both good and it's fun to hear how something changes in different artists' hands. The next track, "History", reminds me of DM's "The Sweetest Perfection". That kinship to DM recurs throughout the CD.
"Dirty Kisses (A Vampire Love Story)" is a guilty pleasure. I mean, c'mon: "Dirty kisses / from a Vampire / dirty kisses / Dirty kisses / from a mouth of death". When I can afford Absinthe, I'm revisiting this song. Later on "The Birthday Party" takes the baton from "Enjoy the Silence". The closing "If" isn't based on Rudyard Kipling's poem, but for me this track has the strongest lyric: "When I held you in my arms / I thought I was special". I'd wager that strikes an old bell within many people.
Alien Skin exemplifies goth with the rock bled out of it. We have Pappas' voice to guide us through a haze of dark and mellow synth.
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