12 March 2016

DELICATESSEN Skin Touching Water 1995

by request

AllMusic Review by

Delicatessen's attention -- gained via sections of the U.K. press -- may well have been one of contrast in the end, a band emerging in the triumphant days of mid-'90s Brit-pop that eschewed that approach for something rougher and angrier. It wasn't grunge or anything, more a slashing grime that made sense when one considers that the band recorded its debut at Toerag Studios, haunt of such characters as Billy Childish and the Earls of Suave. In terms of atmosphere, if not exact sound, Gallon Drunk and the Tindersticks both define some of the mindset of the quartet, as did American acts like Girls Against Boys. Certainly song titles like "You Cut My Throat, I'll Cut Yours" -- actually one of the prettiest, if still creepy, songs on the album -- and "Smiling You're Stupid" aren't "I'm OK You're OK" by any stretch of the imagination. However, bandleader Neil Carlill brought some of his own individual flair and charisma, with a sometimes-restrained and sometimes-creeped-out delivery bolstered by solid performances from the band as a whole. Indeed, it's arrangement that really brings out the band's strengths, switching between unnervingly pretty string/percussion crawls on "Red, Blue and Green" to wracked, intentionally boxy-sounding white noise overload that doesn't drown out everything so much as add to it. Carlill's abilities with keyboards are in ways the foursome's secret weapon -- check out the rhythmic growl of the organ on the opening track, "I'm Just Alive." There's an agreeable air of going beyond the obvious lyrically as well -- if bluntly naming one song "Chomsky" is a touch clunky, the invocation of a legendary film character with "C.F. Kane" is handled in an intriguing fashion. Some of the best highlights are the unexpected numbers, like the beautiful loser epic "Classic Adventure" with its aspirational air set against Carlill's heavily treated, almost drowning vocals, or the brief piano/vocal-only "Advice." 


1 I'm Just Alive 3:41
2 C.F.Kane 3:46
3 Zebra/Monkey/Liar 3:27
4 Red, Blue & Green 2:49
5 Watercress 2:20
6 Classic Adventure 3:38
7 Appeased 0:54
8 Chomsky 3:59
9 You Cut My Throat, I'll Cut Yours 2:28
10 Sick Of Flying Saucers 3:10
11 Smiling You're Stupid 2:58
12 Inviting Both Sisters To Dinner 4:30
13 Advice 1:15
14 Love's Liquid 3:40
15 Froth 3:18
16 If She Was Anybody Else 4:05

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