If you followed The Bias List throughout 2021, you’ll know how much I adore OnlyOneOf’s libidO. The track felt like a confident shot across the bow, melding experimental artistry with taut songcraft. Unfortunately, the group faced a tumultuous year that prevented them from capitalizing on this momentum. The second part of their Instinct series was pushed back, forcing us to wait nearly a year to see how the guys would follow up their most daring single yet.
New track Skinz borrows many of the features that made libidO so great, but struggles to find an equally engaging melody. If anything, it illustrates just how fine the line is between noisy nonsense and engaging pop song. Much of Skinz leans toward the former, but atmosphere and sheer verve pull it across the line. I’ll be honest. On first listen, my disappointment was palpable. But, it’s surprising how quickly the track improves with further plays. It misses much of the melodic tension I hoped for — replaced with a generous dose of mutterings and grunts — but the prickly instrumental proves compelling on its own.
Skinz‘s harsh, industrial production lurches forward in the best way. It’s like an angry beast struggling to break free of its shackles. I love the rugged synth textures that rumble through the verses and chorus. The sound is combative but never obnoxious, and successfully harnesses the sense of aural claustrophobia that has characterized OnlyOneOf’s Instinct series. The descending vocal hook is also effective, even if it’s less potent than libidO‘s similar refrain. It’s all a little messier this time around, which is interesting given how much time the agency had to get this comeback together. But with some time, Skinz‘s charms pull into focus. As a continuation of their musical brand, I’d call it a tentative success with the chance to grow into a real sleeper hit.