This CDR gets filed alongside Hair Police and Wolf Eyes as music I don't fancy playing too loudly with my housemates around. Not that it sounds particularly like those two. Lots of the Skaters' sounds are vocal uhms and ahhs into the microphone distorted beyond recognition. The use of voice - the most unmediated form of expression - results in a uniquely personal and emotional kind of music.
James Ferraro of the Skaters describes the idea of the band 'to translate effectively both the hellish condition of impoverished communities and also the abstract image of poverty'. A band that uses guitars could only allude to these horrors but the Skaters through the vocals can play the part of those who are suffering. For example, on the untitled third track, the shifting, distorted high-pitched wails that whiz past you could be anguished ghosts over the grey wasteland. On "Lattice Pursed Lips," the moody and atmospheric centrepiece, the voices could be those of the faces eerily embedded in the cover image.
The five tracks here each have a very different atmosphere. The fourth track is a strange prospect, its dirgy electric guitar, vocal refrain and trad percussion, sounding like a soup of the Skaters, Bardo Pond and Can. The fifth track takes a different, harsher line with ear-burning highs and digital clicks that make it more confrontational and harder to listen to. This is how I imagine a Skaters live show to be.
All of Gambling, however, is united by the same thing ? a grey fog that obscures all voices and instruments. While the other kind of skater transforms ledges and rails into objects to destroy with a skateboard, the Skaters transform familiar and everyday sounds into extraordinary ones with this fog. Every now and then, like on the third track where the listening perspective seems to abruptly change, you can make out the parts that make up the whole, the voices and instruments. But for the most part this music is abstract, and that?s what makes it special. 8/10 -- Matt Lindley (27 June, 2006)