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4 October 2014

Skinny Dipper – Masks EP

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Vicki Cole is one of many Glasgow musicians that can masterfully pen and play a song within a very short space of time and with little effort, her versatility is completely inspiring. She is the nucleus of new ‘almost all female’ band Skinny Dipper.

The 8 girl 1 guy group that boasts members from Aerial’s Up, Kill The Waves, Quickbeam, Trapped in Kansas and songwriter Cole’s own Randolph’s Leap was always going to offer something sublime.

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Stuart MacLeod of Beetroot Studios recorded the band’s debut EP Masks. His credits include amongst others Beerjacket and Vasa, it is also he that has elevated Cole’s songs to a superior level.

Masks is brimming with songs that not only glimmer with charm, but also roar with originality. ‘The Kids Are Moving On’ is my highlight of the EP. Cat Calton, Ruth Campbell, Heather Thikey and Ali Hendry provide a beatific string & brass section that cradles the exquisite vocals of Gillian Higgins who is the star of the show. There is something about her vocal that shakes my emotions fervently; she has incredible warmth to her tone.

Alex Kenzel, Dipper’s other effervescent vocalist and Vicki Cole have a much-publicised love for movie director Cameron Crowe and this has inspired many of the songs they write. It has in turn created a body of work perfect to soundtrack not only films, but lives. Part of me thinks that it would be criminal if ‘Son of A Mitch’ was not used as a future sync on the big scree, the freewheeling beauty of the track confirms it as one of the year’s best.

Masks cements Skinny Dipper as having one of the strongest Scottish releases of 2014. Complex and unassuming, the commitment they have given to expressing themselves in a way that has no boundaries is something to be admired. This is a group of engaging musicians that have as much depth as they do ambition.

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