Published July 6, 2009
Although it occasionally shows glimpses of intimacy and honesty, All Over The Face is for the most part too bland, too hesitant and too shy to make much of an impact. Skakkamanage play and write songs like they’ve read about it in books, seguing from one chord to another with minimal enthusiasm. The album is uneventful as a whole, and the production neither hi-fi enough to be textured, nor rough enough to be gripping, coming across as a carefully recorded demo. Usually, I don’t regard this as a bad thing, and in fact it sounds great on closing track Go Home. But Skakkamanage just don’t push the envelope enough, and their dreamy melancholia, better suited to far superior sound quality, just makes the low production value seem cheap and lazy. All this is, of course, irrelevant; a good song stands out, no matter what the production sounds like, and it just doesn’t happen here. —Sindri Eldon
Skakkamanage recently toured Germany with For A Minor Reflection, where they did quite a good job contrasting FamR’s post-rock with a melodic but noisy garage sound that definitely provoked some dancing. Hearing All over the Face is quite a surprise after witnessing the band play live. A bit like Bruce Springsteen overdubbing The Stars. The nine songs (except from a few rock ventures that are good though) spread a very calm atmosphere across the room, which is underlined by comforting, clear vocals. Often there is just singing plus guitar, no trace of energetic outbursts. You can hear that the band still is at their beginnings in some ways – the English isn’t very Oxford, the singing sometimes sounds a little too exerted. All over the Face definitely is not a record for all occasions. However, apart from that these guys are talented and have a good sense for laid-back guitar music and rare rock-freakouts. Waiting for more to come!—Florian Zühlke
- What Sindri Thought: Could do with a hit off the crackpipe.
- What Florian Thought: Quiet, warm tunes for private occasions.