When you record an album in your bedroom, the resulting music will inevitably reflect the intimacy of that space. This is especially true of ‘Shade is on the other side’, the debut album by Brooklyn, New York based six-piece act GIRL SKIN, which is a gorgeous set of 60’s influenced baroque folk and indie pop songs.
Written and recorded by frontman Sid Simons and his bandmates at his Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn home, its songs have been shaped by his unorthodox life journey to date, which has taken him from his birthplace of Portland, Oregon, to a childhood spent in both Australia and then New York, teenage years in Shanghai, China, followed by a rambling road trip he took around North America instead of finishing high school.
Combining fragile folk and delicate art-rock to create ethereal chamber-pop songs that reveal Simons’ most private thoughts, the album exists at a point where quiet and tender folk meets dramatic guitar-pop. It nods to icons such as The Beatles, The Velvet Underground and T. Rex, through to Wilco and newer acts such as Mt. Joy.
From its yearning lead single, ‘Forever & Always’, a supple ode to love that features Simons’ timeless voice front-and-centre, to the gentle strumming of the hazy ‘Bite Real Hard’ and the expansive grandeur of ‘She Said’, the album is an elegant mosaic of musical touchstones presented by a young and talented band.
“I wanted these songs to give listeners a layered experience,” explains Simons. “There’s the first intuitive reaction, which I wanted to be joyful and optimistic. But then, as they listened further, other darker and more complex emotions would come to the fore that give the songs breadth and depth. I have been excited by the different interpretations people are having to the same song, some feeling the darker shades, others feeling the lighter ones.”
The gentle charms of ‘Shade is on the other side’ have already wowed US critics,
with Atwood Magazine praising it as “a stunning introduction full of beautiful folk rock textures, timeless vulnerability and stirring sentiments that fill the heart with joy and the soul wth light”, MXDWN commenting on “the quaint simplicity of how good music can sound from low budget production”, and That Music Mag describing it as “a beautiful listen….I don’t think there’s a dull moment throughout.”
Sid Simons – vocals, guitar, piano
Wyatt Mones – lead guitar
Stanley Simons – bass
Ruby Wang – violin
Sophie Cozine – backing vocals, glockenspiel, tambourine
Noah Boling – drums
UK release date
digital – out now
LP & CD – 28.08.20 (tbc)