ALBUM REVIEW: The Skinner Brothers - Soul Boy II

9/10

ALBUM REVIEW: The Skinner Brothers - Soul Boy II

London-based indie-rock outfit The Skinner Brothers drop a new album, Soul Boy II, this week. Talking about the album, vocalist/guitarist Zach Skinner says, “We wanted to put all of the music we’ve made over the past year or so into a collection. It definitely feels like a real moment in the life of The Skinner Brothers. I’ve got a wicked band together, we’ve done some amazing gigs of our own and been out with The Streets and Kasabian and released a whole clutch of songs that we’re fucking proud of, so we’ve put them all into ‘Soul Boy II.’”

Made up of Zachary Charles Skinner (vocals, guitar), Joe Fisher (guitar), Perry Meadowcroft (bass), and Alfie Clayton (drums), The Skinner Brothers’ raw, revved-up guitars and wild live shows now precede them, attracting audiences like ants to sugar.

The new album provides an array of the band’s best songs, fan favourites, and brand-new material. Encompassing a baker’s dozen of tracks, entry points include “Mountain High,” which hits with wickedly dynamic energy. Barely restrained, the punchy rhythm supports deep thrumming guitars and rasping melodic vocals.

Visceral and edgy, “Put Me Down As A Maybe” rolls out on pulsing rock-noir savours. Thick with primitive muscle, this track grinds out viscous blues-rock. Followed by “M.O.R.E,” a track vaguely reminiscent of AC DC, the pair of songs offers a snapshot of The Skinner Brothers’ original, sneering, magnetic sound, a sound surging with the swashbuckling impudence of punk and the heaviness of hard rock.

The acoustic version of “Away Days” demonstrates the band’s ability to turn it down and push out polished, undulating washes of music. “Culture Non-Stop” travels on heady punk flavours, and when the song ramps up, it launches with massive resonance and snarling guitars. “Way Too Far” echoes with indie-dance aromas, big hooks, and a booming, thumping rhythm. Potent, full-sized harmonies inject the song with uplifting tones.

Written and produced by Zach Skinner in his studio in West London, Soul Boy II puts the appeal of The Skinner Brothers on display. It’s a sound simultaneously atavistic and contemporary while being just plain old good.

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