Words by Liam Sullivan
The Ocean Beneath is the brainchild of Leeds based producer and musician Matt Burnside. For their latest offering Skin, he has teamed up with Durham born and now Leeds-based singer-songwriter Fran Minney.
I have been familiar with Fran for a number of years as we have shared the stage at different venues across Yorkshire. Her solo music is a mixture of indie and electro, usually favouring a slower tempo and atmospheric production, which her flawless and rich vocals can float over like an eagle gliding on thermals way above the ground below. On first inspection of Skin I think that the track may be very similar to Fran’s solo work. This is by no means a criticism.
Matt lays down a swelling and pulsing base over which Fran’s ethereal vocals can fly. However, as it progresses we see the track develop, the pads and sparse drums giving way to a rhythmic and grooving bass-line. The listener gets a small taste of what’s to come with each chorus, before plunging us back into the depths of the verses. All of this gradually builds the tension before releasing us into the final chorus which I defy anyone to not groove to. This crescendo wouldn’t fail to get people moving on the dance-floor (when that was still a thing!) The four-on-the-floor beat really helps to lift the track giving it a surge of energy.
This is the point the whole track has been driving towards and it is certainly worth the wait.
The combination of 80’s inspired synth’s and grooving percussion is reminiscent of The Eurythmics, with Minney providing Annie Lennox-esque lyrics and vocals, which seem unstoppably powerful yet delicate. The harmonies and vocal production is second to none, the repetition of ‘I die a little each time’ is particularly haunting.
Skin certainly grabs the listener from the opening synth melody and only continues to draw you in further, gradually filling the sonic space more and more until you are undeniably hooked. By the time the final chorus section drops you are ready to throw caution to the wind and get your body moving.
Skin will be available from September 29th on all major streaming platforms.