The Wild Moccasins - Skin Collision Past
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: May 21, 2010
Wild Moccasins are a four-year-old Houston quintet and one of a handful involved in the "H-pop" movement, a blog-driven attempt to insert America's third-largest city as a haven for upstart indie bands. Skin Collision Past is the band's full-length debut and comes on the heels of two critically-lauded EPs.
How is it?
Terrific. There's something irresistible about jangle-pop done right and Wild Moccasins certainly fall into that category. Vocalist Zahira Guiterrez is on the cusp of becoming a household name and the nine songs on Skin Collision Past prove that. Trading vocals with principal songwriter Cody Swann, the group marries spiky guitar work with caffeinated hook-heavy indie-pop. Commenting on social status, love and rhetoric, the gnomic affair is creative, impressionable and precise. There's not a single hole or hiccup anywhere. This is air-tight, mistake-free thinking man's pop. Opener "Zylophone," is rousing and hypnotic, aided by Gutierrez's sultry vocals.
"Chapter Four," begins with sleepy verses but introduces a mid-tempo chorus that's downright infectious. "Calendar," partners gushing guitars with snappy drums, playful vocal interplay and an inherent sexiness that's too good to pass up. "Born Blonde," boasts a giant chorus and arguably Guiterrez's best vocal work. Every passing second of the performance is impassioned, sincere and deeply affecting. The disc's one misstep (and this term is being used lightly here) is the frizzy and frenetic "Psychic China," which has great ambition but gets lost in a sea of chaos.
Few lows are ever followed in succession and as if cognizant of that, Wild Moccasins offer up arguably the album's best track, "Late Night Television." Bolstered by driving bass, eccentric lyrics and charming vocal interplay, it has all the trappings to usher the band into ubiquity. "Its Health and My Own," features a cascading finish, while "Cake," is low-key and swaddled in stark verses and amiable guitar tones. Final cut and title track "Skin Collision Past," polishes things off with steadfast precision. Urgent, cohesive and pulsing, it's a perfect display of the band at their very best.
If all was right with this world, this disc of shiny, cheery, sugary goodness would find favor with many a fan and the band would find success in nanoseconds. This being 2010, that fate is undoubtedly in question, but make no mistake here, this is an unstoppable 29 minutes of pop perfection. One can't help but think, they won't be Houston's secret for long.