Skin Of Evil - Blackout Beach
Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Skin of Evil is hardened, seamless, and totally unrelenting, everything full-bodied and visceral about Frog Eyes squeezed until it sublimates. This is scary, ethereal shit. It’s also a gorgeously captivating half hour of bedroom pop pushed screaming out of bed.
  2. Skin of Evil, out on Soft Abuse Jan. 20, is a breathtaking, mesmerizing record, a lyrical song cycle about love and loss, affection and anger and alienation.
  3. Mercer's able to fill cavern-like spaces with the might of his many soliloquies. Easy listening or not at all, it's why Skin of Evil--here and gone in just 30 minutes--remains so gripping: Some turns are capable of provoking a physical reaction.
  4. Mercer manages to sing behind the beat, beside it, in front of it, all while tossing out upper-division stanzas that are mostly cryptic, sometimes creepy, and occasionally sublime. [Apr 2009, p.134]
  5. 64
    Blackout Beach songs ultimately tremble in the sun of lyrical exactitude--abstractions are their safe house after raking flight. [Holiday 2008, p.92]
  6. Ironically, the general listening population--if they’re paying attention at all; hey, there’s a chance!--will find this to be Mercer’s most accessible, enjoyable work to date.
  7. Skin of Evil may come off as an unwieldy curio at first pass, but lingering listens will reveal the gripping gothic undertow of Mercer's warts-and-all songwriting, even for newcomers.
  8. Skin of Evil is not unlike Mercer himself—prickly, unfriendly, demanding, but fascinating and compelling just the same.
  9. The narrators’ weaknesses become the songs’ weaknesses; Mercer apparently prefers to sustain verisimilitude at the expense of Skin of Evil’s potential. It’s a bold artistic move that lends itself to the page far more convincingly than it does to the ear.
  10. With dense puddles of minimalist reverb and feedback, it's experimental and challenging, in that it's sloppy and hard to appreciate.
  11. The album suffers both a lack of the compromise that comes with collaboration, and an inability to identify then serve the muse that all of his characters are whining about. [Spring 2009, p.70]

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