album reviews

Skinny Puppy
SPV America (2007)

Like any group with a 25-year history, Skinny Puppy has had its share of band drama, including drug overdoses, falling-outs and reconciliations. Founding members cEvin Key and Nivek Ogre have been on good terms for the better part of a decade during various solo projects, and their 13th studio album, "Mythmaker," sounds much like the group's earlier work.

Songs with such touches as uber-processed growlings of "Oh yeah" sound like something from an early 1990s industrial album, and though it is darker and gloomier than Skinny Puppy's first records, "Mythmaker" seems surprisingly conventional for a group that broke so much ground in the dance/industrial genre.

Thankfully, not all of "Mythmaker" is so overwhelmingly ominous. "Jaher" begins with a slow, acoustic guitar that melds into Ogre's soft vocals and a pensive chant. The restraint in the song's subtle swirling beats adds such intricacy that it's almost possible to overlook some of the more mundane lyrics ("All life starts with death / All death starts with life").

The dullness in those lyrics comes to a head in the album's last track, "Ugli," which suffers from over-repetition of the line "Jesus wants to be ugly." It's unfortunate that the phrase takes such a dominant position in the song, whose instrumental interludes showcase the jittering, unstructured beats and innovation for which the group is known.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 8 June 2007, Page WE09
.: Mythmaker on