THE DISQUIETING MUSE
Review of BLOOD, WOMEN, ROSES by Pieter Uys
The debut album by (World of) Skin, released in 1987, is a
collection of brooding lullabies, chilling hymns and eerie
incantations. Piano, keyboards and drums dominate the
orchestral arrangements although cello, strings, violins, viola
and double bass – contributed by guest musicians - appear on
Besides the covers Cry Me A River and The Man I Love, all songs
were written or co-written by Michael Gira whilst Jarboe performs all
lead vocals. A sinister hymn with segments of spoken vocals, One
Thousand Years, opens this disquieting album. Cry Me A River
receives a particularly chilling interpretation where the voice morphs
from girlish soprano to droning contralto over slowly churning
A collage of edgy drumbeats and what sounds like trumpet blasts
follow on Come Out, while We’ll Fall Apart has a majestic orchestral
arrangement in which Jarboe’s voice reaches new levels of intensity.
Unnerving gregorianesque backing vocals and echoing drums open
Still A Child, after which the instrumentation settles down to chiming
keyboards that accentuate the bluesy delivery.
The Gershwin song The Man I Love oscillates around wildly divergent
piano registers… delicate tinkling and thundering bass textures.
Then, in Red Rose, soprano leads are juxtaposed with contralto
backing and ghostly sighs charged by atmospheric keyboards, a
spectral sonic sculpture arhythmically disrupted by reverberating
clangs and crashes.
The blood-curdling lullaby Blood On Your Hands is the only track not
arranged around keyboards. This mid tempo number with its
pounding, heavy drumbeats resembles the simultaneously sinister &
sorrowful My Buried Child on The Great Annihilator. Both are chant-
like incantations, Blood being a slowly building mournful wail with
menacing undertone whilst Buried Child’s robotic recital rides on an
urgent, uptempo rhythm.
The gold-colored inner sleeve contains the lyrics of all but the two
covers on one