As one of Australia’s most treasured musical exports, Flume needs little introduction. His 2012 self-titled debut saw him garner large crossover success nationally and internationally; and left behind a string of impersonating producers in its wake. The four-year absence between albums has only made the hype surrounding LP2 more prevalent.
Skin finds the producer attempting to hit the middle ground between reaching the largest audience possible and expanding on his experimental tendencies. While there are radio-and-club-ready anthems like “Say It” (featuring Tove Lo), these are contrasted with boundary-pushing cuts like “Numb & Getting Colder" (with Perth’s Kučka). Flume has also refined his approach to featured artists; rather than relying on them to deliver hooks (as he tended to do on his debut), he’s found a better balance between showcasing his own talents and allowing vocalists to shine, as exemplified by killer second single “Smoke & Retribution” (featuring Vince Staples and Kučka).
The main problem with the album is formatting. Taken individually, most of these tracks hit their marks quite comfortably. When sitting through the 16 tracks as a whole however, its consistent pace can be tiring, and songs tend to blend into one mass rather than hold distinct voices; sounds that initially sound refreshing and exciting (“Helix”) can sound rehashed toward the end (“Free”). It also leads to filler tracks, which don’t add much to the album and could have been left off the track-list to refine the listening experience (such as “3”). The album ends on a sugary high-note, however, with “Tiny Cities”, featuring dynamic vocals from Beck.
Overall, Skin should prove a hit with fans and newcomers and sets him apart from his flurry of imitators. It proves Flume is fully capable of generating mass appeal while remaining a distinct and explorative artist in his own right.
Skin is out now via Future Classic, Mom & Pop and Transgressive Records. You can catch Flume live at Perth Arena on November 25 2016 with special guests Vince Staples and SOPHIE.