As music fans we’re only ever given fragments of lives well lived, and we scrabble vicariously through them. Skinny Lister, though, have really given us as much as they can since 2009, passing the growing flagon of their experiences with every album and tour. They’ve led an endless parade gathering fans old and new, from the respected folk circuit to the riotous Download Festival, igniting pogoing mosh-pits at each. Over the past ten years they’ve travelled from rain-soaked London to the vast arteries of the USA, upgrading from narrow boat to Salty Dog Cruise, played huge tours across Europe and North America with Frank Turner, Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly as well as headlining themselves across festivals, sweatboxes and ever-larger venues.
After three albums taking confident steps into an ever larger world, their fourth offering, The Story Is… (produced and mixed by Barny Barnicott – Arctic Monkeys, The Enemy, The Temper Trap) takes the tales of the everyday, the minutiae of our lives, and turns them into potent pop that rings oh so true.
Musically, the band has scoured volumes of texture and tone. Though songs like ‘Rattle & Roar’ and ‘Sometimes So It Goes’ will be familiar to anyone who’s loved the band’s three previous albums, Forge & Flagon, Down on Deptford Broadway and The Devil, the Heart & the Fight, the band has explored a lexicon of their tastes. ‘The Shining’ takes on Blondie’s new wave disco, giving Lorna Thomas (vocals) the spotlight. Lorna takes the reins on two of the most energising songs – ‘My Life, My Architecture’ and ‘My Distraction’ – and brings her unmistakable vitality to the album. ‘38 Minutes’ spins like a top with the urgency of an impending doom, backing ‘ooohs’ like sirens, and an electric pace as if they’re outrunning the clock. They’ve turned every melodic instinct up and, along with the hooks and lyrical reality Dan has drawn, it’s a deep dip into the encyclopaedic sound of which the band are capable.
And so the torrent of touring continues for Skinny Lister in 2019, leading cross-continental parties of willing devotees, audiences getting larger as people from all walks of life and several generations – young and old, children and parents – sing, dance and cheer. These songs, stories and passionate live performances, charm and thrill a huge spectrum of gig-goers from the folk aficionado and the indie experts to the riff-addled metal fans and the furious punk kids.
“…(a) kaleidoscope of high-octane folk punk via Dexy’s and The Pogues.” Louder Than War