Alien Skin

The Kage Alan blog reviews 'Don't Open Till Doomsday'

The Kage Alan blog reviews 'Don't Open Till Doomsday'

28 April 2008

There's some irony here. Life on earth has been growing somewhat ridiculously unpleasant over the past decade and we're now seeing that influence showing up more and more in the arts. Take Science Fiction for example. Once popular for fantastic journeys and uplifting endings, the genre has become somewhat bleak. Bleak is in. Sparse is the new black. Minimal is the soundscape of our journey and what is art or Science Fiction if not a journey? Take George Pappas' debut solo CD for instance. If the name "Alien Skin" doesn't suggest a hint of Science Fiction, then the album title "Don't Open Till Doomsday" certainly should. So turn down the lights, sit back in your chair and use that remote control whose buttons you've memorized to select "Play" on your CD player.

What we have here is an album that should be treated as an entire entity, not something dissected and plopped onto MTV as "the next big single of the decade". "Don't Open Till Doomsday" is better than that. The 10 songs showcased here represent a journey, one that is hosted by the vocals of Pappas and Iryna who are there to set the mood, but allow us to create the specifics of what we imagine out of our own psyche. It's synth without being dance. It's gothic without being bombastic. It's suggestive without dictating.

Each song is uniquely different. The arrangements are layered, only the overall feel is again sparse. That by no means should lead one to think it's dull. It's not. There's always something driving the tracks forward, something unexpected that keeps the overall effect from feeling like they've outstayed their welcome. Will there be some favorites? Certainly. I have mine, only you need to discover your own for yourself.

Many will want to compare this to something else they've heard. Try not to. "Don't Open Till Doomsday" should be treated as one of the select few CDs in our music library that can't be forced into an overall category and we love it just the same. What amazes me is that the process and location for recording the album wouldn't normally lend itself to this kind of end result. Hence, the irony. Fortunately, we're in good hands with Pappas and his experiences as a musician lend not only credibility to his work here, but also demonstrate a mastery of the kind of expression that "Alien Skin" offers. The journey will hopefully continue.

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