In Review: Skinshape - Arrogance is the Death of Men
Skinshape is the divine creation of English musician and producer Will Dorey, a one-man-band with a flare for blending global sounds with experimental psychedelic grooves. Oozing with his trademark 60’s and 70’s funky throwback sound, cleverly interwoven with Afrobeat and reggae influences, Skinshape’s latest LP Arrogance is the Death of Men is beautifully soulful and introspective.
The arrival of Arrogance is the Death of Men is a delightful surprise, with Dorey having only recently dropped his previous album Umoja in June of this year. Equally skilled at generating songs which are entirely instrumental as well as those which are deeply lyrically poignant, injecting emotion into every riff and hook, Arrogance is the Death of Men is a welcome addition to Will’s compilation of epically kaleidoscopic tunes. Chock-a-block with Skinshape’s signature sound, one of the biggest delights of Dorey’s latest creation is the unexpected but wonderfully utilised oriental funk peppered throughout the album. ‘Sound of Your Voice’ is succinctly evocative of Chinese and central Asian auras, with the spotlight firmly on guest erhu violin player Wan Pinchu in the aptly named ‘Flight of the Erhu’, another welcome addition to Skinshape’s global music repertoire.
Written between November of 2019 and up until July 2020, it comes as no surprise that much of the album's lyrical content relates to Will’s perception of, and struggles during, the pandemic. The title track is an observational piece on the societal temperature of 2020, with lyrics “Not able to be social, Afraid to go outside, Don’t forget to breathe today,” being unashamedly tinged with pessimism and sadness relating to the stress and strain that lockdown imposed on us all.
Despite the inevitable sombre nod to the Covid crisis, Skinshape has it's colourful summery sound throughout Arrogance is the Death of Men. The album is a nostalgic and warming throwback to happier times, invoking memories of festivals, road trips into the wild, stories told around bonfires, and days spent on the beach in the sunshine. In mid-winter, in the middle of a pandemic, this album is a glorious gift and beacon of hope for better days to come.
Arrogance is the Death of Men is out now via Lewis Recordings.