The album opens with a jaunty reggae number “Carter’s Shining Deed”, featuring African percussion and rock-a-billy guitar. It tells the story of Robert Carter, a land owner who, after an attack of conscience, set his slaves free and was punished with social and financial isolation.
“I a Rebel Soul” drives along furiously over thumb piano and hard tribal percussion. Peter C’s soulful guitar work and some subtle dub add a more laid back element to the mix.
A jazz bass and dark chiming guitar lead into “They Call Them Animals”, an impassioned plea for more awareness around animal issues and attitudes. Latin percussion and sax add to the swirling, jazzy feel of this track.
A gorgeous mix of acoustic guitars, African xylophone and clay pot percussion help make “If I Cannot Dance”, an intensely personal song about the need for warmth and shared humanity an emotional, appealing and uplifting track.
“The Fall” is a sombre reflection upon our loss of connection with nature. It glides along with sparse guitar, a mixed choir and musical bells played like a glockenspiel. The long instrumental fade is quite mesmerising.
Things wake up with a bang with “Chant Down Babylon”! Swooping Arab strings wail over pounding African and Middle Eastern drums, heavy guitar and even a hammered dulcimer. Inspired by the Arab Spring of 2011/12, this song is a rallying call to not replace one form of oppression with another.
A world-weary Rankin’ Jules vocal sighs over a Gregorian chant, flute and Spanish guitar in “Hope is a Tired Horse”, a song about fading hope and the realisation of the dreadful strengths of one’s own habits.
“Dark Cargo” is a haunting anti-slavery song, set over pounding slack-skin drums, accordion, raw ethnic fiddle and chiming guitars. The fade out as the slave ship leaves harbour is chilling, with seagulls and creaking timbers adding to the atmosphere.
“Educate Yourself” packs a powerful and hard hitting message concerning the need for us all to educate ourselves regarding various world issues into a happy go lucky, dubbed-up African framework featuring African xylophone, accordion, various scrapers and some scintillating guitar work. Woy ya ya O!
“Rice and Rumours” paints a poignant portrait of a man who finds himself in a refugee camp. He can’t understand what has happened to him or why. Every day is spent pursuing food, assistance and the latest rumours around the camp. African guitars and the drone of the berimbau are echoed by buzzing insects to create a haunting soundscape.
A plaintive flute and the eerie sound of the cimbalom dulcimer introduce “Your Eyes Don’t See My Face”, a plea for world understanding and an end to the wilful blindness of political racism.
The album ends with its title track. “Shine Beneath the Skin” which sounds like a tribal song that has existed for centuries. A subtle array of percussion and cymbals form an atmospheric base for glorious interweaving south sea guitars. Time to drift away to paradise as the album ends on a message of positivity. “We will shine beneath the skin. And we will sing.”
|▼ Digital Media 1|
|1||Carter's Shining Deed
|2||I a Rebel Soul
|3||They Call Them Animals
|4||If I Cannot Dance
|6||Chant Down Babylon
|7||Hope Is a Tired Horse
|10||Rice and Rumours
|11||Your Eyes Don't See My Face
|12||Shine Beneath the Skin