ALBUM TITLE – SMILE
REVIEWER – GRAEME WRIGHT
It’s been really heartwarming to see the support that Skindred have received from the Heavy Rock community in their recent battle to have a UK number-one album. Band after band supported them and urged their followers to purchase the new Skindred album ‘Smile’, which ultimately fell just 140 album sales short of finishing in the top spot. I’m pretty late to the Skindred party, having flirted with their music occasionally but never having seen the band live until their recent support slot on the Kiss tour. The band were excellent on the night and had the audience eating out of their hands, so I duly ploughed through the back catalogue and I’m now obsessed with the band and their music.
So, how does the new album stand up against all of the recent hype? Thankfully, for the most part, it does. It’s a joyous celebration of an album and at least six of the twelve tracks on display here are as good as any song that the band have ever produced. The other six songs are still of the highest quality and there are no fillers at all on this record.
Things get off to bang with ‘Our Religion’ which is probably the heaviest track on the album, is a bit of a departure for the band with its crunching bass and drum back line, with Benji’s vocals sounding a touch gruffer and deeper than normal. ‘Gimme That Boom’ is next and is a fabulously entertaining piece of music that I have no doubt will be a live favourite for years to come with its immediate earworm hook and chorus. ‘Set Fazers’ continues in the same vein, immediate and joyous this is another song I’ve hammered over the last month or so. ‘Life That’s Free’ is prime Skindred reggae/metal fusion while ‘If I Could’ is a touch more mainstream and mellow than most Skindred fayre. ‘L.O.V.E. (Smile Please)’ is a party song to die for and will have the fans dancing in the aisles on the next tour. ‘This Appointed Love’ has a prime reggae beat and ‘Black Stars’ is yet another immediate chant-along record with a steel core to it. ‘State Of The Union’ has proven to be a firm favourite for many fans of the new record with its laid-back sound while ‘Addicted’ is ironically a typically addictive Skindred track. ‘Mama’ is a heartfelt Metal/Reggae track while album closer ‘Unstoppable’ is another absolute banger and finishes things on a massive high.
To conclude, I absolutely loved this album from start to finish. If you’re not familiar with a band who dare to try something different I would implore you to buy this album and go and see them on tour. With a Wembley gig forthcoming it’s clear that it’s Skindred’s time to shine. In the words of John McClane, “Welcome to the party, pal.”
Benji Webbe – Vocals, Synthesiser
Daniel Pugsley – Bass/Backing Vocals
Mikey Demus – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Arya Goggin – Drums
- Our Religion
- Gimme That Boom
- Set Fazers
- Life That’s Free
- If I Could
- L.O.V.E. (Smile Please)
- This Appointed Love
- Black Stars
- State Of The Union