Seattle’s “grunge babies” hit peak form on their third full-length album Skin, recorded and mixed by Billy Anderson (Melvins, Neurosis, Jawbreaker) and mastered by Ed Brooks (Pearl Jam, Heart, REM). Fresh off of several tours (with bands such as The Fall of Troy, Kylesa, Constant Lovers, and Prism Tats), Wild Powwers gained cred as the upstart that “made you feel like you might want to smash some bottles down by the train tracks with your juvenile delinquent friends while skipping 5th period” (Stackked Magazine). They’ve since become regular show headliners and Skin is the flag that lets them stake their rightful claim to the throne.
Piercing through Wild Powwers’ psychedelic wall of sound is frontwoman Lara Hilgemann’s scream; it’d fit over any classic post-hardcore outfit, but it belts out arena-ready choruses here. These massive hooks feature largely on the album’s front end, sucking you into the downward-spiraling latter half, a dark pit you won’t want to crawl out of. There, the aptly-titled “Night Sweats” moves through stark post-punk to primal death rattle shrieks and into the finale “Sad Sap”- the bleakest of ballads that recognizes sometimes you just have to lie in the bed you’ve made. Skin runs the gamut through epic psych-sludge breakdowns (“Buff Stuff”), straight-ahead rock (“Skin”), and even a nod to ‘50s pop slow dances (“May I Have This Dance”). The impeccable vocal harmonies between Hilgemann and drummer/reincarnated-John Bonham Lupe Flores are glued together with Jordan Gomes’ rock solid, melodic bass work.
You see some shit if you gig nonstop and release three full-length records in four years. It’ll roughen you around the edges. But if you “specialize in the sort of carefree grunge riff-rock that gets better the dirtier it gets” (KEXP), that’s like aging a fine whiskey. They may “have (their) regrets/But (they’re) not dead,” and Skin’s immaculate rawness is a testament to that.