Ever since the release of their striking and plaudit grabbing debut album of 2016, there has been an instinctive anticipation for a great many for the Skinny Girl Diet follow-up and not just for their sound but the rage, irritability, and bold attacks on life and values it is fuelled by. They are verbal trespasses feeling increasingly rare in modern music surrounded in a sound just as full of dissonance and unapologetic displeasure but it all giving the opposite. It is a combination easily ensuring Ideal Woman as suggested was eagerly awaited and now here destined to be declared one of the truly stirring encounters of this year.
Since the release of the acclaimed Heavy Flow, London hailing Skinny Girl Diet has reduced from three down to the founding duo of Delilah and Ursula Holiday, vocals/guitar and drums respectively. It is a move which has done nothing to quench the hunger and anger in their music; a proposition bred from the voracious attitude drenched essences of punk, grunge and dirty rock ‘n’ roll but not truly settling into any particular bed of sound. Ideal Woman is a richer palette of that mix; bolder in imagination, songwriting and flavouring as it impressively builds on the potent potential of its predecessor.
If noise annoys, then Skinny Girl Diet will be winding up a great many but it is a creative clamour nurtured on invention, passion, and honesty. As much as it pours scorn on the parade of ills inflicted upon modern society Ideal Woman is just as harsh and abrasive on the apathy around them while musically it just sung on the senses and appetite with matching imagination, instantly making a strong and alluring start with opener La Sirena. From its initial doomy prowl of guitar and slowly rolling beats, the track crawled over the senses, Delilah’s swiftly joining vocals harmonic but carrying an instinctive and never far from the surface snarl. A slice of untamed rock ‘n’ roll, it is primal flirtation and an irresistible introduction to the organic tension and enterprise of Ideal Woman.
Witch Of The Waste follows bringing a bluesy sigh and subsequent swing to bear on ears and a quickly embracing appetite. As with the first, there is a predacious hue to the track even as it dances with grooves and toxic melodies, fully captivating before making way for the similarly voracious if more controlled Shed Your Skin. Though not exactly in sound, there is something of a mix of The Slits and The Raincoats to the song aligning with its own individual and devilish lo-fi grooving and devious hookery.
There is no denying that the opening trio had us hooked but a snare ensuring full slavery with the album’s title track. It is a delicious slice of soulful temptation and melodic indie pop intimation boiling up to a fuzz pool of rock ‘n’ roll as unpredictable as it is enthralling. The best track within Ideal Woman, the song was pure captivation though quickly rivalled by the capricious drama and exploits of Human Zoo. Seduction and trespass collude across its equally absorbing trespass, the new adventure in the Skinny Girl Diet composing and sound in full blossom within both tracks and indeed next up, Starfucker. It too makes a calm yet slightly unnerving entrance; a tinge of portentousness lining the melody of guitar and Ursula’s mercurially edged rhythms. Delilah’s voice similarly has a volatile lining which breaks ranks rather than erupts across another rich highlight of the release.
Through the vacillating scuzz soaked saunter of Western Civilisation and the post punk teasing antics of the outstanding Outsider, satisfaction and pleasure continued to draw lusty returns while Timing and Golden with their respective Au Pairs-esque seducing turning rowing with the senses and instinctive volatility pretty much left a want for nothing.
The closing stretch of the album ensures it bows out as potently as it burst in; Warrior Queens leading off in confrontational style with defiance soaking word and the soiled causticity of its ear rapping sound. Its full cacophony is followed by the just as sonically and emotionally dissenting White Man where a Distillers like vehemence adds to its inherent pull.
Clickbait concludes the pleasure, preying on the listener with carnivorous beats and wolfish chords then breaking into a rabid punk grunge assault enhanced by Delilah’s ever alluring blend of harmonic coaxing and snarling tetchiness.
It is a rousing end to a release which just grows more stirring and impressive by the listen. Ideal Woman is prickly and fractious rock ‘n’ roll wrapped in a weave of imagination which has no interest in being anything other than honest and unique incitement all should risk infection by.
Ideal Woman is available now digitally and on vinyl through HHBTM Records.
Pete RingMaster 12/02/2019
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