Last Friday saw the release of possibly the most anticipated album of the year, ‘Skin’, the second album from Flume (Harley Streten). Off the back of a huge debut record that has since become the most streamed Australian album in history and the global chart-topper ‘Never Be Like You’ released in January, expectations on the 24-year-old Sydney beat-maker were set at an extremely high standard. And boy didn’t he deliver.
Following the releases of singles ‘Never Be Like You (featuring Kai)’ and ‘Say It (featuring Tove Lo)’, the presumption was that this album would be an attempt to hijkack the top 40 charts, a far different path to the trailblazing sounds heard from Flume’s debut self-titled record, making the ‘experimental electronic’ enthusiasts nervous around the world. However, the 16-track-long journey, ‘Skin’, dabbles into a number of styles, catering for all types of music lovers.
The album begins with a big-room EDM style instrumental in ‘Helix’ that Flume has always been capable of creating and festival goers have been craving him to drop. Hip-hop/rap is well and truly represented, through tracks such as ‘Lose It (featuring Vic Mensa)’, ‘You Know (featuring Allan Kingdom and Wu Tang member Raekwon)’ and also ‘Smoke & Retribution (featuring Vince Staples and KUČKA)’. As the album progresses, a slower pace is infused through the ambient-inspired tracks ‘When Everything Was New’ and ‘Innocence (featuring popular UK duo AlunaGeorge)’. Fortunately for the diehard Flume fans that have followed him from the beginning, his trademark sound was not lost on ‘Skin’, found within the instrumental ‘3’, while the experimental lovers had the dark, banging ‘Wall Fuck’ and ‘Numb & Getting Colder (featuring KUČKA)’ to fulfill their needs.
Overall, ‘Skin’ has something for every listener, but it is not an album that everyone will like. Although there are the pop singles that were previously released and loved worldwide, they do not have a massive impact on the complete sound of the album, as it takes upon more of a dark and twisted experience for listeners. The title of the album is symbolic, as skin is constantly changing, which the album experiences throughout, a constant change of genre and direction. On top of this, Flume himself said “I haven’t exactly felt like I was in my own skin for the whole writing process”, making the album title an obvious selection.
Personally, ‘Skin’ has lived up to my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed the spectrum of genres, from uplifting festival tunes, right down to the chilling ambient melodies that could be used to assist insomniacs. The album will make for a very interesting live show; which Melbourne will be able to witness in two shows at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl later this year. Tickets to the performances can be found here.
‘Never Be Like You’, ‘Wall Fuck’ and ‘Innocence’.
Neither of these tracks are my favourite from the album, but they have been chosen simply because they exemplify the diversity across the album.
Listen to ‘Skin’ below:
Or buy it here.