Skinny Puppy ‘Bootlegged, Broke And In Solvent Seas’ (Live) – album review

Skinny Puppy: Bootlegged, Broke And In Solvent Seas (Live) (Dependent/Metropolis)
Out Now

Live albums can be somewhat of a minefield. Oftentimes they fill the gap between studio efforts and endlessly repackaged ”ËœGreatest Hits’ compilations. With a band as exciting as Skinny Puppy, however, such scepticism can be firmly placed aside.

”ËœBootlegged, Broke and In Solvent Seas’ is a new release which charts the Canadian industrial icons 2010 European tour. Their 1987 live release ”ËœAin’t It Dead Yet?’ has cemented itself as a classic within the genre and so expectations for this recording are high. The good news is that Ogre and co. couldn’t deliver a poor show if they tried. One of the greatest (yet oddly overlooked) showmen currently performing, his vocals rest somewhere between the indecipherable and the subliminal for most of the proceedings, yet they are absolutely captivating. The combination of this and the work of cEvin Key create an inimitable and fascinating result.

The production on this album is superb, with pounding, rhythmical beats and sinister keyboards (reminiscent of a ”ËœPretty Hate Machine’ era Nine Inch Nails) that sound as fresh as they ever did. The album was recorded directly from the sound desk and stage mics (at live shows in Bratislava, Warsaw and Hildesheim) by Ken Marshall with absolutely no post production or ”Ëœstudio trickery’ involved and this only adds to the listening experience. Admittedly, the aesthetics of a Skinny Puppy show are not to be underestimated. The aspects of visuals and theatrics are as meticulously planned and well thought out as the music which they accompany. The prosthetics and masks which Ogre dons during his shows are always something to behold and while this is removed as part of an audio recording, the music more than stands up for itself.

My personal highpoint of the album is most definitely the seminal track ”ËœAssimilate’, which was the song that brought me to the dance well over a decade ago. Other particular highlights include ”ËœWorlock’ and ”ËœDogshit’. With a running time of a slender 57 mins, they have created a rather unique live album in that it leaves you wanting more once it finishes. It has certainly been on heavy rotation since I acquired it and I don’t see it being turned off anytime soon. It would also serve as a great introduction for the uninitiated. If you like your music dark, foreboding and hypnotic, look no further.

All words by Colin McCracken. You can read more from Colin on Louder Than War here. Colin also blogs from his website & you can follow him on Twitter.

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Colin McCracken is an Irish writer and cinematic obsessive who writes extensively about movies on a daily basis for his website He is equally passionate about vinyl (he used to run an independent record store), literature, live music and film soundtracks. He can also be found regularly on twitter as @zombiehamster.


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