.@planetmosh reviews the new album by .@skindredmusic. .@benjiwebbe .@aryadred .@dnlpgsly .@mikeydemus
Metal, reggae, rock, funk, rap…it doesn’t matter how hard you try, you just cannot label Skindred. And then, when you think you’ve managed it, they go and do something that completely throws your theory out the window. Kill The Power, the band’s fifth studio album, continues that trend. Released on Monday, 27th January via BMG and Double Cross, the album sees the band reunited with producer James Loughrey (who worked with them on 2011’s effort Union Black) and sees the release of a record that has been building momentum for some time, given that ‘Ninja‘ and the title track were both released as singles in September and November of last year respectively.
Thing is, if you were to take the two singles as an indication of what to expect from the new album you wouldn’t find much new; on the contrary, both songs are very much what Skindred are known for doing – huge choruses, infectious rhythms and more energy than a crate of Relentless. But when you delve into the rest of the album you realise just how different it is. For a start, it’s easily the most radio-friendly and accessible album that Skindred have ever released – there’s something on here for everyone, from the dubstep-infused Playing With the Devil to the rap-rock anthem World’s on Fire. The choruses are so catchy they will cause mass sing-a-longs on tour later this month, particularly on The Kids Are Right Now, and We Live is the closest thing to a ballad that Skindred have ever done before but will become a massive song (seriously, it deserves to be heard on mainstream radio). And then, just to round things off, More Fire closes the album in a mellow, acoustic, reggae format which sums up the album completely: you just don’t know what to expect next. There’s also two guest vocalists – Jenna G provides the female voice on Open Eyed, whilst veteran frontman Arthur Brown is the booming introduction to Ninja.
Special mention has to go to the lyrics and songwriting on this album too. The band collaborated with legendary writer Russ Ballard on Kill the Power (Russ wrote such rock classics as Since You’ve Been Gone and God Gave Rock and Roll To You) and it’s paid off handsomely, not least because Benji Webbe sings every word from the heart. The standout track for this is Dollars and Dimes, which speaks volumes about the struggle to keep afloat in an ever-changing financial and economical climate, but Webbe’s ever versatile vocal style means the words are given maximum potency and hit home as hard as possible.“I’m looking for dollars and finding dimes, time after time/it is hard to keep the wolves from your door” are just two examples within the song where you find yourself relating to everything the man is singing at you.
For people who have been fans of the band for a while, this album could take a bit of getting used to. But it’s definitely work the effort, because when you begin to delve deeper into it you find such riches that Skindred, in an ideal world, would be headlining arenas by the end of this year. They may well do yet.
Benji Webbe – vocals, synthesiser
Daniel Pugsley – bass
Mikey Demus – guitar, backing vocals
Arya Goggin – drums
- Kill The Power
- Ruling Force
- Playing With the Devil
- World’s On Fire
- The Kids Are Right Now
- We Live
- Open Eyed
- Dollars and Dimes
- Proceed With Caution
- More Fire
Skindred are on tour in the UK from January 23rd until February 2nd. For more information and links to buy tickets, please follow the link above to their main website.