Like a blast from the not so distant past, you can’t get away from the mid-noughties sentiments on Skaters debut LP ‘Manhattan’ – but considering guitarist Josh Hubbard and front-man Michael Cumming were in 00 nearly-bands (The Paddingtons, part time Dirty Pretty Things & The Dead Trees) it might not be a surprising they’re leading a garage-rock revival in 2014, even if only sub-consciously.
Splattered across the 11 tracks of ‘Manhattan’ you’ve got an LP littered with little stories and anecdotes lamenting the highs, lows and seedier aspects of life in the Big Apple delivered in Skaters passive style – with complimentary nod’s back to the city’s late 70’s punk scene.
Opening track ‘One of Us’ drills that post-punk feeling immediately with enchanting riffs, ‘Miss Teen Massachusetts’ and ‘Deadbolt’ carry on the records confident hook heavy start, while 2012 single Schemers’ from their debut EP brings the best out of song-writer-in-chief Michael Cummings.
Later on there are little surprises with ‘Bandbreaker’ and ‘Fear of the Knife’ going down a reggae route which sends the record off course, albeit briefly before the ‘live’ favourite and chorus heavy ‘I Wanna Dance’ (But I Don’t Know How) pulls things sharply back together.
Trying to sum up ‘Manhattan’ in a few words is difficult but it feels like a result of Skaters throwing The Strokes, The Ramones and themselves into a blender and the result being a guitar driven cocktail paying homage to NYC. Thinking ahead to LP number two, can they rely solely on more hometown anecdotes? maybe not! But for now we’ll appreciate them.
Label – Warner
Release Date – February 24 2014
Rating– ****** (6/10)
Reviewer – Michael Jamison