[Skindive sleeve]"Skindive" (Album, 2001)

Palm Pictures

Glossily packaged, fairly standard Irish pop rock is what we've been sent here to review. Unobjectionable and not quite the Garbage experience the three guys and female vocalist line up might suggest. To be fair there's a definitely attempt at a more ballsy sound but it never quite lives up to its promise. I wonder if they've been advised to tone the rougher edges down slightly in the hope of wider appeal? Whatever, the results sound compromised.

There are moments with the guitars that you'd be forgiven for mistaking a few seconds of some of this for Sulpher. Yet, for all the nice n heavy guitars - for example on the opener Swallow - they are tempered throughout with prosaic vocals, predictable string arrangements or some other bland convention. Expensive sounding production and good presentation (Enhanced CD format, a nice digipackage and twelve page booklet full of good-looking, moody photomontages) don't make up for its forced radio friendly trappings (half the twelve tracks are less than four minutes in length) and the constantly intrusive and ill-judged tricksy production fiddling. Contrition is the only track that works entirely and that's probably due to it being the only instrumental and running a mere 50 seconds!

Curiously, following up the Garbage comparison, In For The Kill sounds like Skindive's attempt at a Bond theme. To be fair, it's a darn sight better than the other sort of garbage Madonna was allowed to get away with for Die Another Day. Perfectly okay, but not much more. 5/10

Rob Dyer

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