REVIEW: Skycabin — Insidia (SINGLE)
Eclecticism is where alternative R&B began. Before there were music videos or even watching players on television, a desire to release was driving the gods of neo-soul into the theatre of creation like no one had ever known before, and it’s in this spirit that we find the new single “Insidia” by Skycabin so essential to the fall release calendar in 2023. There’s plenty of throwback R&B and new-wave pop coming into focus in the mainstream now, but if you want straightforward rebellion against pure mundanity — no matter what name you want to give it — there’s no substitute for an indie act like this one.
One of the first things I noticed about this piece is how no member of the band is rushing, and yet everyone sounds like they’re about to run head-first into each other. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, given that discord is something that Skycabin wanted to get started right off of the top here, but I still find it rather fascinating how well they connect even in sonic combat. The chemistry is through the roof, and you don’t have to be a professional critic to recognize that about “Insidia.”
The harmonies in any alternative R&B song are usually something that I automatically gravitate towards, and the quality of what’s been included in this performance makes “Insidia” no different. There’s a lot of textural presence from the grind of the melodies in this single, but I never find the physicality of the front end to be any more overwhelming than the bassline, drums, or even the vocal beside the instruments. They might not be competing with each other, but Skycabin has a way of making it sound like its players thrive on connective melodicism more than they ever do the notion of unrefined virtuosity.
I love how the backend of this mix is imposing and indulgent while the front is rather simplistic and straightforward, giving us the sort of juxtaposition that’s often limited to the avant-garde in R&B and any other genre of music in modern times. Skycabin doesn’t care how I or anyone else categorize their sound — they’re cutting into some of the sweetest grooving I’ve listened to this month here, and proving that while alternative R&B has gotten leaner on a larger basis, it’s still got plenty of dirty funk fueling its epic underground scene.
Skycabin has a sound that I can endorse without thinking about it twice, and what they do with it next should prove both interesting for the critics like myself following their story and that of the genre that they’re trying so hard to resurrect. There’s a shortage of real, unabashedly rich R&B music coming down the indie pipes right now, and although not branding themselves with the same kind of aesthetics that gave us the likes of their forerunners more than half a century ago, there’s something quite charismatic about what this band is playing that makes me dedicated to seeing and hearing what they record next.