Known for their dreamy guitar-driven sound, Long Beach five-piece Skin Mag just released “An Exercise in Hindsight,” the first single off their debut EP Mourning Sickness which is set to release in the spring. This is the first release since April 2018 with their singles including “This Just In” and “Tonight Show.”
“An Exercise in Hindsight” carries on that same dreamy feel, beginning with a droning synth sound and an electronic beat before opening into a bright guitar riff. The initial sound is contrasted immediately with an almost frantic, upbeat sound of guitars and drums. Lead singer Shane Barton’s vocals add to this dreamy feel as another voice seems to echo after each line is sung, as if thoughts are passing through his mind after each sentence.
The song puts the listener into a trance-like state before breaking back into the crashing of drums and strumming of the guitar, seemingly snapping you out of a daydream. The constant switch between this daydream state and reality accentuates the lyrics, which are seemingly about the realization of wasted youth and the regret that comes along with it. There’s an almost haunting quality to the music as well, which may signal an element of fear that comes with growing up.
The title “An Exercise in Hindsight” perfectly sums up the deeper meaning of the song. Hindsight is defined as “the understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened.” Looking back on wasted youth and finally understanding the meaning of it all is exactly that – an exercise in hindsight. It seems as though this wasted youth revolves around a relationship, especially with the words “you mistook all the things we used to do, kept my eyes on you.” This loss of innocence stems from what appears to be a lover lost, perhaps someone who betrayed the narrator after a youth full of love and commitment, seemingly a waste of time.
The track peaks with the words “please don’t stare, I got too drunk to care / leave me be, staring in the mirror,” showing how this realization of wasted youth has taken a toll on the narrator. It emphasizes how they are so distraught that they will use anything to cope with the reality of getting older and the passage of youth.
Overall, “An Exercise in Hindsight” is a beautifully dark song surrounding the effects of wasted youth and it’s the perfect tease for their new EP. Skin Mag has been playing shows throughout Los Angeles and Orange County, with their closest upcoming date being February 17th at the Echo in LA. Keep an eye out for more new releases including their debut EP Mourning Sickness.