Wild Moccasins hearken back to indie rock bands from a couple decades ago, but not in the fuzzy, distorted way many new bands tap into that old vein. Instead, on Skin Collision Past, Wild Moccasins succeed on a guileless and unpretentious energy. These songs are built on shimmering, expansive layers of guitar and keys, but made buoyant with danceable, swaying beats. The title track opens the album with a soaring bit of power-pop, and puts on display the band’s greatest strength—the interplay of vocals by Zahira Gutierrez and Cody Swann, spinning and falling beautifully over the rich atmosphere of the music. Song to song, Skin Collision Past is awfully ambitious—songs shape-shift as they go, sometimes turning impressively on a dime. They settle in a bit on the last couple songs—they play it particularly straight on the cloudy pop of “Chapter Four”—and they lose a bit of their energy in those moments. But the ceiling is high for an inventive band like Wild Moccasins, especially when they spend more time on their songs than on their image, which—sadly—is no small feat in 2010.
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