George Pappas, aka Alien Skin, has a very personal vision: To make electronic music with a heart and soul. With the release of his debut album, Don’t Open Till Doomsday, Alien Skin has done just that.
As the keyboardist from legendary ‘80s Australian band Real Life, whose Send Me An Angel is still a regular on radio playlists all over the world, Pappas has some serious musical credentials. As Alien Skin, he takes his vast experience, and a fair helping of musical talent to boot, to craft something that sounds fresh and different while still nodding to the sounds that inspired him.
Sonically, and even lyrically, the most obvious comparison is to the more innovative recordings of Depeche Mode. But Alien Skin updates the sometimes raw sound of those pioneers of electronica. There are elements of the stripped down Detroit techno of the likes of Carl Craig and Deepdish. There is a hint of the vocal sound of Underworld.
Bundled together, all of these influences help create a soundscape that both enraptures and challenges the listener from first bar to last. Bubblegum pop this is not. It is real, yet accessible music, made by a musician who knows that ‘electronic music’ does not mean music without a soul.
Pappas describes his work as “a kaleidoscope of electronic melancholia - music for astronauts, aliens, and all marginal beings living at the frontiers.” In many ways, this is the best description anyone could give this strange, beautiful record. Like a kaleidoscope, it seems to be in a constant state of flux, with the sound shifting almost imperceptibly as it works its way into the mind.
And, like a kaleidoscope, Don’t Open Till Doomsday is best appreciated on an individual level; maybe because it will hold different meaning for each of us. Created entirely by Alien Skin, who wrote, sang, played, produced and engineered every note, it invites the listener into a very personal aural experience.
This record will reach into the hearts and minds of anyone who likes their music to take them on a voyage of discovery. It is based on infectious melodies and poignant lyrics which will stick with any discerning listener long after the record has stopped spinning.
It is rare to find a true original, but in Alien Skin’s contemplative dubby electronica, we may just have done that. Listen and be converted.