Slow Gherkin - Shed Some Skin (Cover Artwork)

Slow Gherkin

Shed Some Skin (1998)

Asian Man

A few months before Slow Gherkin's last release came out ("Run Screaming"), Punknews posted an MP3 of the song "Sally Boulevard" from the new disc. I instantly fell in love with the song and began researching the band. Since their new albums wasn't out yet, I had to resort to some of the bands older material. This turned out to a blessing in disguise. Quality bass lines and fun horns are the musical highlights of this album which has a real "summer" quality to it. As for the vocals, I figure them to be a love/hate situation with most people, you'll just really have to hear the band and decide for yourself if they are of your liking. The singing comes through as quite aggressive at times, but generally there's more of a laid back feel to the songs.

The disc starts out with a rumbling, simplistic bass line in "Trapped Like Rats in Meyers Flat" (downloadable at the end of the review). My first impression was that the album would have a dark tone, but that is soon squashed as the horns kick in with a burst of energy. The music here is best described as ska-rock. Don't expect any punk-ish influences as heard with bands such as Catch 22 and the Suicide Machines. Some of the songs even exuberate an 80s vibe; the second track "Another in Your Life" displays this quite well. Personally, this is one of my favorite tracks on the album and really locked this in as a purchase. The build up to the chorus and the actual chorus are the highlights of this song.

The next two tracks, "I Only Smoke When I'm Drunk" and "Turned Off," show a darker side of the band (at least compared to the first two songs). "Turned Off" shows off some fast, aggressive singing which leads up to a good guitar breakdown and into a solid bridge.

"Get Some More" starts off with some good gang vocals, which then segues into a rolling bass line that flows throughout the song. This song is one of the more high energy numbers found on "Shed Some Skin," and is definitely a favorite. 3/4 of the way through a song, a great breakdown emerges with some nice guitar and bass interaction. The song slowly builds up and ends at it's highest point energy wise.

Another standout track is "Reminder." A great guitar intro really pulls you into the song and holds your interest. This song has a really laid back, fun feel to it and is definitely an easy listen. The line "On the ground my happiness is double/ Twice as happy on the ground/ I stood up, now I fall down" is one of the highlights of the whole album.

Closing out the great "Shed Some Skin" is the song "How Now Lowbrow." This song starts off with a soft guitar part and and then the energy really picks up (similiar to the first track). The chorus in this song provides some more gang vocals. At about four minutes, the song slows way down to a crawl. The energy slowly dies off and the music beings to softly fade away.

To sum my feelings up, this is a incredible, feel good ska-rock album by the now (saddly) defunct Slow Gherkin. The album may take a few listens to really warm up to, and others may be turned off by the style of vocals, but overall this is a must buy for any music fan looking for something new and fresh.

Trapped Like Rats In Myers Flat