hospital NEON is a duo that has never physically met, which is understandable as one of the members comes from Greece and the other from Serbia. "Numbers on My Skin" is (at least to my knowledge) their debut under this name, although they've previously collaborated under the name "PNDC & Housework."
The EP presents four songs of calm, mellow and dark post-punk. The sturdy and plump bass guitar creates a strong backbone for the songs, and the simplistic programmed drums keep up the pace in the background with their harmless but fitting sound. The clean and twangy electric guitars deliver some freer energy and spice up the songs with style, and sound more than fitting despite having a tad improvised style - perhaps due to the bass guitar's steadiness providing a great contrast to them. Along with the bass guitar, the low and mostly spoken vocals serve as the songs' leading element. They sound similarly traditional to the genre as the bass-sound; they're rather loud in the mix, and, instead of creating any poppy catchiness, their main purpose is to add some dramatics and a great deal of emotion to the songs.
The songs are somewhat tribute-like, but sound 100% honest and seem to be the results of concentrated effort. One of the main reasons for the songs' great appeal is their strong and natural flow, which surprised me as the songs were crafted through using the internet instead of actual jamming sessions. Everything seems to fall in place to give the songs a sturdy, yet emotional structure, which is surrounded by vivid movement by both the soft and clean notes and the rougher, twangy ones. The programmed drums give the songs a lighter side, and the same applies to the keyboard-bits.
Aside of sounding rather safe and traditional, the band's weak spot is revealed during the over eight minutes long finishing track; it becomes rather ambient-esque and doesn't create a similar amount of emotions as its three predecessors. A track of this kind might work better if it was placed on a full-lenght album, as now it eats up almost half of the EPs lenght and thus makes it a tad less appealing listen. Mixing ambient atmospheres with already mellow music is always a risk, and this time it didn't turn out a complete success.
Overall I feel like the duo settled for too little on this release, and I believe they can take their expression further if they really focus on doing so. They have now founded the basics for their expression, so all that's left is to refine it further to make the songs even more appealing, and to find and explore bolder, more powerful and more personal ways of delivering these atmospheres. A better visual side would be a great bonus as well, as I can't really say anything positive about this EP's cover artwork.