All Dogs - "Skin" (Singles Going Steady)

All Dogs' “Skin” sounds like it’s beamed from the mid-'90s golden age of alternative rock.

Harmless mid-90s ‘alt rock’ balladeering. Picture Claire Danes staring forlornly out a window, twisting the ends of her plaid shirt between her fingers. Will Jared Leto ever see her? I mean, ‘really’ see her -- for her? A tear rolls as “Skin” plays idly in the background. Except it’s 20 years later now and Claire is fighting terrorists and Jared is the Joker, so you might well ask if “Skin” is really what the world needs. Still, it jangles, it rises, it falls. Lyrically there’s a lot of talk about pain and crying and “not being satisfied”, the kind of thing that writes itself. Innocuous, unnecessary nostalgia. -- PAUL DUFFUS (4/10)

Taken from the upcoming Kicking Every Day album, “Skin” sounds like it’s beamed from the mid-'90s golden age of alternative rock. All Dogs’ vocalist Maryn Jones has a crystalline voice and a keen melodic sensibility. “Skin” begins slow and somber, with Jones’ vocal floating above the morose guitar pattern like a thin wisp of silk. The song amps up during the chorus with intensifying rhythm and guitar, and beautifully layered vocals. All Dogs’ typical style is upbeat power-pop with an edgy post-punk vibe, but “Skin” shows they are a band capable of stylistic diversity and genuine emotional power. -- CHRIS GERARD (8/10)

Woof. I hope there’s no comeback implied by tracks like this. Those of us old enough to remember taping 120 minutes off of MTV will recall that these were the five videos we fast-forwarded through to get to the Stereolab tune. Better pop an Echinacea in case this is something that’s going around. -- TIMOTHY GABRIELE (1/10)

A sweater-trapped finger fidgets with a guitar whilst a shy voice quells the anxiety to speak its mind amidst a banding low end bounce. Once the skein of yarn is unknotted, Ohio’s All Dogs unleash a torrent of sound before settling into an arm’s length admittance of love on “Skin”, the second single from their forthcoming debut LP, Kicking Every Day. A prelude to a breakup, singer Maryn Jones stands cocksure, singing, “I will find a way / To justify my pain / I will cry, I will lie / And I won’t be satisfied”, before uttering the halting it’s-not-you-it’s-me refrain of “I will remind you of my mother”. Try as you might, the pointed finger of “Skin” cannot be bypassed. Words may have been uttered, but All Dogs will not allow them to be reciprocated. -- ERIC RISCH (8/10)

I admit it, I grew up within the same sort of insular, introspective emotive rock space that All Dogs inhabit. For some reason, I’m expecting a proverbial lambasting of this style from the generic critic’s perspective, but screw it. I dig it. There’s an intrinsic honesty to the track, just a bit too glum to be quite hopeful, that elevates it into territory that modern emo music so often doesn’t seem to envelope, and that’s unbridled honesty. “It’s okay to give up” is the type of message that bands like All Dogs seem to emanate from their very pores, which makes for an intriguing listen if you’re in the right mental space for it. I am. -- JONATHAN FRAHM (8/10)





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