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Young Skin - Sticky Pages EP

Fake Names, Real Punk

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Young Skin

Sticky Pages EP

Paper + Plastick Records
With their made up names, Young Skin sounds like a made up band from a work of fiction about a punk rock band, but Beau Disregard, Artful Dodger, Black Donald, and Liz Unphair are all real people, and while these may not be their real names, they stand in front of folks who are not only real, but obscure the identities of real musicians that you may know better than you realize. The four members of Buffalo-based Young Skin come from bands like The Ergs!, Lemuria, Hunchback, Failures’ Union, Black Wine, Full of Fancy, For Science, and more.

The roots of Young Skin lie with Artful approaching Unphair to create a side project with a raw Riot Grrrl inspired sound similar to Bikini Kill, to which she replied, "only if the name of the band is awful and upsetting." This launched Young Skin, and The Sticky Pages EP.

Consisting of four songs that were each written by a different member, the record is an inspired creation. After the songs were written the record was made in just four days in December of 2010. The band learned the songs on December 1, performed them live on December 2, and finally recorded them in the studio on December 3. Why it then took almost two full years to see release is a mystery to me, as the sound is raw, pure and loaded with fun.

From the first track, "Paper Thin," the band is playing pure punk, a raw and raunchy first track full of abrasive hooks and female vocals that scrape along with a screeching melody, loaded with the girl-powered feminist-fueled vitriol of classic riot grrl bands without so much political posturing. Unphair professes her rage and self-confidence, but it's a singular stance rather than a movement.

All four tracks have this retro riot grrrl feel, fast jangly punk with forceful female vocals, but it's not the only element. "Dr. Liar MD" is fast and melodic punk, while "Don't Shoot (Me an Email)" dips deeper into hardcore territory, another realm where Unphair proves her acumen, getting more aggressive and holding ground, while the EP's closer "Uneasy" is upbeat and anthemic, loaded with an instrumental line heavily heaped with pure '70s punk swagger and a bit of Cramps-fueled psychobilly guitar.

I love the fact that bands like Street Eaters and Young Skin are holding onto this classic girl-fronted sound that retains elements of grrrl bands and combines them with other classic punk elements. Riot Grrrl may have been as much about politics as it was about its sound, but that doesn't mean that the sound wasn't great - and while Young Skin may be a side project, that doesn't mean it's not a great one. I hope they continue, and we can look forward to a full length from them.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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