Charlie Peacock is one of the Christian music industry's most decorated figures, even if most of his work is behind the scenes. He's released over a dozen vocal albums since the 80s, and he's produced and written dozens more for household names like Switchfoot and Nichole Nordeman. But an artist's work is never done since the world that surrounds him is never done, and at the start of 2021, we desperately need to listen to what our artists choose to say. Peacock seems aware of this responsibility, as Skin and Wind is a collection of quiet reflections on our relational and spiritual connection with each other and the Divine.
As someone with a history of flashy musicianship within his discography, it is somewhat refreshing that Peacock keeps the formulae simple here. Most of these tracks fit squarely within a singer/songwriter acoustic box, though a few do venture out into odd experimentation with mixed results. The opener kicks things off with a simple acoustic pattern paired with electronic drum pads that don't feel at all necessary. On the other hand, songs like "Even When You're Not" carefully balance organ, strings, distorted keys, and electronic layers to synthesize something that is truly diverse, catchy, and unique. Still, the laidback alt-country stylings of "Sing It Blue" and "Is There Anything" are what feel most effortless and natural, and the album would be more cohesive if this particular sound dominated the tracklist.
Much else could be said about the sonic nature of the album, but it's clear that the lyrical themes are what undergirds this project. The title track displays a certain wisdom with Peacock recognizing that his life is set up in a way that he is still able to do well for himself while others aren't able to right now ("As it is even now in the summer of '20/When you've still got more than plenty"). That acknowledgement of privilege leads him to examine the importance of the relationships in his life. "Call It Destiny" takes this principle to its cheesy limits with lines like "Happy heart and happy shoes/Helping me lose these walking blues", but he's also not afraid to prophesy with an analysis of our polarized rhetoric in album standout "24 Hour Parade." This track's haunting acoustic lines and staccato strings serve to warn and guide us elsewhere ("I see the lion on the prowl/I drop a knee and say a prayer/Come light, true Truth/One Life, in You"). Ultimately, Peacock comprehensively sees the predicament we humans are in, struggles with it, and calls for a back-to-basics embrace of faith, hope & love.
Skin and Wind is a collection of solid songs that are performed decently, but surprisingly, the production doesn't bite at all. As always, Peacock's vocals are smooth and understated to the point of losing an engaging quality. Coupled with natural lyrics and contemplation, this makes for an experience of easy listening with some important things to reflect on as we tackle another year of potential division, even if specific sounds here might be easy to forget.- Review date: 1/18/21, written by Mason Haynie of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: None
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