CD REVIEW: Skittish - The Perfect Shade of Green
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"Artist to watch in 2011"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST -
Genre: Indie Rock, Psychedelic
Minnesota’s own “Skittish” release their latest double CD entitled The Perfect Shard of Green in 2010. Skittish is comprised of 2 core members/musicians: Jeff Noller (vocals & guitar) and Vonnie Kyle (vocals, keyboards & accordion). Also present are Memphis Evans (Bass) Colin McGowan (Drums) & Cole Mickelson (Guitar & Mandolin). This is their 3rd release.
The first disk kicks off into high gear with solid intro rock vibe: “Living Atop” a psychedelic guitar groove meshed against emotionally charged vocal delivery, driving rock rhythm well placed vocal accents & harmonies from Noller & Kyle. Track 2 “Love Song and Lullabyes” serves up another infectious solid low end groove, with Celtic rock flow coupled with hooky harmonies & impressive vocal accents from Noller and Kyle. Track 3 my personal favorite “Wrecking Ball” shifts gears with its hard hitting rock groove that flows & ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. The CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 solid tracks in a row. It’s quite amazing how hard Skittish is to pigeonhole. Right from the start you will notice Noller/Kyle & company feel quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. The overall musical vibe has a nice, raw indie feel to it with a late 70’s psychedelic flair reminiscent of do I dare say “The White Stripes” with a psychedelic edge of say and "The Black Keys.” The guitar playing is rock solid across the board dishing out impressive bluesy guitar licks, rock solid rhythm guitar playing. Equally as impressive is the vocal presence of both Noller and Kyle. They both take vocal risks thought the CD indicating to me strong and confident vocal abilities. Both voices go down smooth & are full of passion, & heartfelt recklessness abandon. The musicianship from all the other members in the band is above the bar & has everything you would expect. Besides the standard 4 piece musical delivery you will also notice many other impressive musical textures with things like psychedelic ambience, lush harmonies, piano, accordion, xylophone, well placed keyboard accents, horns, strings, cello, orchestral ambience, mandolin, & musical touches that are both highly creative & brilliant. Noller and Kyle clearly make the (singer to listener) vocal connection with their singing. The songs themselves are short & sweet musical experiences, each one possessing more unique personality, flair, & signature groove than you could find with an experienced contract screen printer. I can honestly say all these songs have hit potential written all over them. It’s no wonder this musical duo have had their music featured on MTV, ET, & even Fox Sports. From infectious “Singing the Orbits” to mesmerizing “Maggie” and “Sticks & Stones” this double CD has something for just about everyone. With a double CD format with 24 songs to choose from - this production comes fully loaded. My favorite pieces in SIDE 1 are “Maggie” “Signing the Orbits” & “Rearview Mirror” SIDE 2 “Living Amongst”, “Bump in the Night” and “Welcome to the Circus.” From psychedelic “White Noise” to striking “Bring out your Dead” and Keep Driving” to Hard Hitting “Through the Woods” both these CD’s have something for just about everyone. There are a few folksy & heart felt moments as well on “Jagged Stars” & Living Amongst” and “Hug a Tree” and a few that are just plain infectious “Potential” “Welcome to the Circus.” All in all it's an impressive and massive catalogue of music.
It’s hard to find any noticeable weaknesses with this massive catalogue of music. However all songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I like the 2 singer vocal delivery, but at times it’s can be a bit confusing at times sounding like 2 different bands.
The Perfect Shade of Green” by Skittish is the one of the best musical productions that’s slid across my desk this year. It’s strong suit? Pick one – amazing songs, marketable sound, strong production value, song for song consistency and amazing vocal presence of lead singers Vonnie Kyle and Jeff Noller. Together they make a deadly combination indeed. So if you like indie-college rock musical presentation that is packed to the hilt with amazing musical diversity that is both fresh sounding & highly entertaining then I highly recommend you jump head first into Skittish.