Sol Skugga – Swimming Without Webbed Toes (CD)

The first track on “Swimming Without Webbed Toes” is “Crash”, and it comes forth with a very grave and atmospheric feel that link together new wave acts like Enya and Enigma with hints of goth and “Ray of “Light”-era Madonna. The resulting track is something that will stick with listeners throughout their “Swimming Without Webbed Toes” experience, feeding in well to “Am I”. “Am I” is the longest track on the disc, and while a number of artists and bands suffer through placing a long track at such an early place on their CD, Skugga’s “Am I” is a track that expands the range of influences and genres that she can draw upon. Where “Crash” is a song that showcases the power and skill of the instrumental side of Skugga’s act, “Am I” places the vocals at a focal point.

The track itself draws on different traditions than did “Crash”, imbuing listeners with a feeling that anything can and will happen during each of the 12 cuts on “Swimming Without Webbed Toes”. “I’m Not” blends the atmospheric sound first broached during “Crash” with a harder-edged rock style. The resulting track is one that feels as if it would fit in well with the music of late-nineties acts such as God Loves Underwater and Stabbing Westward, but Skugga exhibits skill enough to make the track speak to the current generation of music fans. “Stand My Ground” has a haunting sound that establishes an inorganic/human dichotomy to “Swimming Without Webbed Toes”, and approaches most closely Bjork’s “Human Behavior”.

Skugga builds upon the work of Bjork by interlacing masterfully these two distinct threads, creating for listeners a narrative in which the human – Skugga’s voice – is bolstered and enhanced by the inorganic – the musical arrangements. It is this bifurcated way to really “get” “Stand My Ground” that speaks volumes on how to understand the similar way in which “Swimming Without Webbed Toes” is created. By the time that listeners get to “Tonight”, they have been exposed to countless musical styles, influences, and arrangements. The tracks may do well on the pop tracks, but there is something much more deep and meaningful to the tracks on “Swimming Without Webbed Toes”. Make it a point to pick up a copy of this album and try to enjoy Skugga’s compositions on both levels described, and keep an eye out for Skugga’s next work.

Top Tracks: Ghost, Dear Sister

Rating: 7.8/10

Sol Skugga – Swimming Without Webbed Toes / 2007 Self / 12 Tracks / http://www.solskugga.nu /

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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