a technicolor, psychedelic collage with fuckskin's logo.

Local Review: fuckskin – you can find it

Local Music Reviews

you can find it

Street: 04.10
fuckskin = pageninetynine + usurp synapse

fuckskin sounds like if you gave the members of Modern Baseball a bunch of PCP and introduced them to grindcore. They incorporate the greatest elements of ‘90s emoviolence that separate it from mid-‘00s, Warped Tour-clouded perceptions of “post-hardcore,” and I believe that even the most pretentious of 30-something screamo purists in Orchid T-shirts would agree. In a contemporary culture where “emo” doesn’t really mean anything anymore, fuckskin takes the genre back to its roots, pulls out its most unique traits and transforms it into a simultaneously chaotic and soothing musical and theatrical experience. If you were to cram fuckskin into a genre box, they would be most likely to fit into that labeled “screamo” (or “skramz” or “emoviolence,” depending on how seriously you take that genre grouping), but it would still be a tight squeeze. With clearly audible influences from hardcore, Midwest emo, punk, grindcore, noise and shoegaze, fuckskin seems to take bits and pieces from each genre I love in whichever way translates best to the emotions the band seeks to express. A name like “fuckskin,” a first release named after the French Cartoon Network pseudo-anime Code Lyoko and often highly unserious song titles (à la Usurp Synapse), make it all the more impressive how intensely the group’s raw emotion comes through in each track. 

you can find it kicks off with “shudder,” the first thirty seconds of which consists of a rapidly-strummed, hopeful chord with distant-sounding, shouted vocals (in the most classically emo way) before descending into pure violence—“shudder” sounds like the audio manifestation of an emotional breakdown as it progresses. The range of Gary Fairburne’s vocals seems to mirror the five stages of grief in no particular order, which adds to the feeling of chaos present in fuckskin’s music that makes it feel deeply relatable, even when you can’t decipher their words.

“we’ll make it that far … won’t we” begins with a bass and drum intro that, at first, shouts post-punk. The melody brought in by the vocals kickstarts the track’s ascension to something much more triumphant and uplifting—an anthem of hope from a group of deeply sad people convincing themselves and their listeners that brighter days might be closer than we think, a sound that feels more meaningful with the knowledge that this release may well be the last Salt Lake City hears of fuckskin in its current form, with multiple members pursuing new opportunities beyond the band. The track’s gradual yet intense escalation is underscored and carried by the aggressive yet technically precise bass work of Kale Morse, whose heart-wrenching backing screams can be found throughout fuckskin’s discography. The sonic optimism of the second track carries over to the ‘00s alt-emo riff that opens “something worthy of being set free.” Fairburne’s cries of “why don’t you save my life?” are sculpted by delicate and understated guitar picking from Zachary Zane, and the volume and arrangement of the track varies wildly: each member’s talent shines through and is perfectly highlighted by another at different points, a testament to the collaborative magic and artistic compatibility that makes fuckskin what it is.

While each track stands out as cultivating a new merging of genres, “arras” is an even further departure from the rest of the EP. Far less structured and more experimental, the noisiness and chaos of “arras” somehow makes it the perfect backdrop for the intricacies of the jazz inspiration present in Val Brown’s drumming as it is draped in screeching feedback and deep, crunchy bass that seems to follow no pattern. Even by fuckskin standards, this is an experimental track—an experiment in soundscapes and audio textures rather than “music” in the traditional sense. The deliberately unsettling nature of “arras” is reminiscent of meth., a band that uses chaos and dissonance to their advantage to convey an emotional experience that can’t be demonstrated by tightly composed, clean and conventional audio work. The discomfort is amplified by an ending bass arpeggio looming threateningly over a sample that begins: “How would you describe yourself? As nothing. There is no self.”

The EP’s fifth and final track, “like home,” sounds desperate, as if each member were fighting for their lives while playing, yet it still maintains tightness and intricacy. Beyond the first minute or so of increasingly rapidly, brutally hammered instruments, fuckskin gifts the listener with one of their specialities: half-screamed anguished vocals over complex, sweet-but-sad guitar. Though often joked about in online circles, from the “Midwest emo intro” to La Dispute, few combinations of voice and instrument are as effective at soliciting a listener’s emotions. “like home” takes you on the journey that fuckskin’s entire body of work would while staying confined to three-and-a-half minutes, a length of time that somehow feels both like forever and just a brief second while listening. The track ends with each member wailing on their respective instrument in perfect synchronization on inconsistent offbeats—the silence in between is as loud and impactful as the music being played. fuckskin has often ended live sets this way, leaving the audience unsure of when the music actually ends (while praying that it never does). “like home” is a poetic conclusion to not only you can find it, but to fuckskin’s legacy of music and performance. 

you can find it is a sonic and emotional rollercoaster that I would like to get back in line for to ride again. Though fuckskin’s formal last show was on April 28, members have teased the possibility of a surprise all-ages show in the near future. This should come as a relief for those of you who missed their show at Aces High Saloon—a visual and audio display of emotional intensity that functioned both as a last hurrah for the band (at their absolute best, by the way) and as a celebratory farewell for Morse before they leave the state, as the crowd reminisced on the greatness they’ve brought to their local scene and cheered for them wildly as they laid seemingly half-dead on stage after a cathartic set. Follow @fuckskinslc on Instagram and keep an eye out for one last chance to see them live! 

Read more coverage of fuckskin:
Local Review: fuckskin – SYNC/RPT || codelyoko
Localized: fuckskin