Monday, 20 January 2014

SKINDRED - ALBUM REVIEW

Skindred - Kill The Power (DoubleCross Records/Cooking Vinyl) 
Skindred - Kill The Power

Release Date: 27th January 2014

Skindred are one of those bands I've seen advertised on countless neon pink and yellow posters around large towns and cities but, to the best of my knowledge, I've not heard a note of their music yet so I was keen to get my ears around this new album and see what's kept this band going for so long. The Welsh quartet launch in to their fifth album with the title track and 'Kill The Power' is a fierce, swirling, snarling mash up of rock, metal, ragga and dance beats. Following hot on its heels is the furiousness that is 'Ruling Force' which takes on about six genres in less than four genres like some kind of crazed, music hungry animal. 'Playing With The Devil' is full of moody, almost Massive Attack-esque melody, pulsing bass line and Benji Webbe's hypnotic vocals spiralling through the airwaves. Meanwhile, on 'World's On Fire' Skindred astutely deploy broken beats, live drums and some huge riffs before 'Ninja' comes crashing through the window and the duelling guitar and bass of Mikey Demus and Dan Pugsley take centre stage.

There is a more straight forward rock'n'roll feel to 'The Kids Are Right Now' which reminds me of the l likes of Audioslave but the lyrics about kids born in Jamaica and Brixton give this a very different cultural focal point. Demus' chiming and choppy guitar work again comes to the fore on 'We Live' although this feels a bit too much like a Nu-metal ballad which is murky territory. The jerk and sway of 'Open Eyed' is akin to Skunk Anansie being remixed by Asian Dub Foundation while 'Dollars and Dimes' is a no-holds-barred indie-rock anthem in the making. 'Saturday' is a BIG riffed tune and you could reasonably expect to hear it in the background of a frat party scene in some big American teen movie - entirely missing the point of the lyrics, ironically. System Of A Down-esque riffs and beats open 'Proceed With Caution' before Webbe starts spitting out lyrics at a terrifying pace - his wordcount per song must surely be well above the average. Final track, 'More Fire', starts off like a gentle, children's them song for a cartoon about a misunderstood dragon with tourettes and, despite almost sounding a bit like Big Mountain at times, is actually a really nice, laid back tune that would go down well at sunset at any festival of your choosing. So, I can see why Skindred's popularity has lasted as they manage to encompass so many different styles at once whilst retaining excellent musicianship, interesting song structures and, most importantly, they've got a message. Predictably, there's another sizeable tour coming up, starting this week in fact, so if you've seen the name but don't know their music then just give Skindred a chance to impress.


Live Dates:

22nd January - University of East Anglia, Norwich
23rd January - Mo Club, Southampton
24th January - Rock City, Nottingham
25th January - Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton
26th January - Empire, Middlesborough
27th January - O2, Glasgow
29th January - Leadmill, Sheffield
30th January - O2 Academy, Bristol
31st January - The Junction, Cambridge
1st February - The Forum, London

2nd February - Academy, Manchester

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