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Devon Thompson Delves Into Darkness With New EP “Skin”

Alternative rocker Devon Thompson is back with a brand new EP, titled Skin!

Skin will be the first EP since her 2020 EP, Split Ends. Skin, a culmination of two years of tireless work and countless revisions, explores the duality of emotions through its dark yet ethereal themes. Tracks like “I Love You But It Hurts Like Hell” showcase Thompson’s hard hitting alt-rock and punk influences, while “So Close” and new single “Poison Me” delve into darker territories.

The meaning of the EP’s title, Skin, holds a special place in Thompson’s heart. Inspired by her own struggles and experiences, Thompson sees the skin as a metaphor for both vulnerability and resilience. As she explains, the EP’s themes of beauty and violence mirror the light yet tough nature of human skin. A beautiful metaphor and an intriguing premise that leaves audiences eager to give it a listen. So, let’s talk about the tracks on this brand new EP, starting with the pre-released singles!

Skin artwork

The first single she released was “So Close,” a haunting yet sultry track, delving into a personal underground feel with a Halloween vibe. The song, characterized by a retro style and dark undertones, presents a fictional story of a person driven to madness, inspired by serial killer documentaries. Thompson’s love for Halloween and dark aesthetics influences both her music and style, with “So Close” being a post-punk alt-pop creation that carries an ominous aura. The accompanying video, appropriately released on Halloween of last year, portrays Thompson in a murderous scenario that she interprets as a fantastical love story akin to Beetlejuice.

The second single released on the road to the Skin EP was “I Love You But It Hurts Like Hell,” which I would say is the hardest hitting song on the album. In “I Love You But It Hurts Like Hell,” Devon Thompson delivers a powerful blend of aggression, hurt, and anger within the realm of post-punk glory, reflecting the song’s theme of exorcizing a toxic relationship. Her rapid-fire delivery, featuring intentionally short lyrics and phrases, mirrors the decisive stance of moving on from the source of toxicity, whether a person or situation. Through the verses and choruses, she navigates themes of overwhelming love mixed with the need to let go for self-preservation.

Which leads us to the most recent single, “Poison Me,” which was released on February 29. Here, Thompson takes a bite into a poisonous apple as she departs from her usual style, delving into dark pop territory with a sweet yet sinister twist. The track, inspired by the classic Snow White tale, offers a dark reimagining of the story where Snow White actually longs for the poisoned apple, craving eternal peace in a dreamless slumber. Thompson’s pessimistic yet intriguing spin on the story makes this a refreshing take on the story, portraying Prince Charming’s kiss as toxic yet irresistible. The opposing mixture of light melodies with a macabre storyline creates a hauntingly beautiful atmosphere, showcasing Thompson’s willingness to push boundaries and explore uncomfortable themes. The instrumentals on this track are undeniably catchy. The melody of the guitars mixed with Devon’s haunting yet sultry vocals makes this song one that’ll send all of the good shivers down your spine.

This track stands out as a testament to Thompson’s ability to balance beauty with darkness, “a saccharine sweet tragedy” as she describes it, inviting listeners into a world of fairytale nightmares and haunting realities. “Poison Me” is a slow journey into the depths of desire and escapism that will be sure to leave you spellbound by its ominous ambiance. Similar to its other pre-releases, “So Close” and “I Love You But It Hurts Like Hell.”

Now let’s get into the new tracks on Skin. The new EP opens up with a bright synthy, possibly 80’s inspired track titled, “Straightjacket.” This song in particular, in my opinion, showcases Thompson’s vocal ability and her overall talent of creating a repetitive yet catchy chorus. My favorite part of the song has to be the final bridge, which showcases her amazing and powerful vocals. It’s definitely reminiscent of the sound that “I Love You But It Hurts Like Hell” is going for, however it adds a bit more groove and danceability, and is a bit lighter than “I Love You But It Hurts Like Hell.”

The other new single is the EP’s final song, “She Is Devil.” It immediately drew me in with Devon’s isolated vocals mixed with a singular guitar, which I am assuming is being played by Devon herself. It is a sound you would get if you were to see Thompson live or listen to a stripped down version of a produced song. I am in love with how this song sounds. It is different from anything that is on the album and it is the perfect note to end the EP with. In my interview with Thompson, she mentioned that she records all of her music live and her songs are meant to be performed and to be experienced in a live setting with a live band and this song is definitely giving those feels. I simply cannot wait to hear “She Is Devil” performed live with the accompaniment of the guitar.

Throughout the interview I conducted with her in February right before the release of “Poison Me,” Thompson honed in on the importance of storytelling and emotional authenticity in her songwriting and overall process of making a song. Each track on the EP serves as an indicator of her growth, offering a wide variety of sounds mixed with amazing guitar instrumentals that she herself plays. She also mentioned that a big inspiration for her writing and song style is her love for dark fantasy literature. Devon, a lover of darker tales, even has an instagram page dedicated to her latest reads. Thompson’s creative process involved collaborations with various co-writers and recording sessions in Nashville and Los Angeles. Despite facing challenges along the way, including numerous rewrites and revisions, Thompson remains proud of the final product.

With more music and live performances planned for 2024, Devon is gearing up for a busy and fast-paced year. Devon Thompson’s EP, Skin, as well as the stellar single, “Poison Me,” seems to display the depths of her creativity and authenticity. With her blend of catchy melodies, thought-provoking lyrics, raw emotion, and sick guitar playing, Devon Thompson is an artist you’ll definitely want to keep your eye on this year!

Watch the full interview I had with Devon below.

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