The Skints are back with their fourth album, Swimming Lessons. The album brings a daintier, uplifting, island-like sound; a definite divergent feel from their their last album, FM. That said, the new full-length LP is still equally reminiscent of the early 90’s reggae/punk/alternative scene, with an overall meshing of styles that hit home on many levels.
The album is natural, diverse and explorative…
Swimming Lessons is an excellent mix of various flairs. Members, John Doyle (bass), Jaime Kyriakides (drums/vocals), Josh Waters Rudge (guitar/vocals) and Marcia Richards (keys, sax, flute, melodica, samples, vocals) take turns throughout tracks singing, playing different instruments and flowing effortlessly together. The album is natural, diverse and explorative in a such way that will project The Skints into greater popularity, even amongst non-ska/reggae fans. This fourth album is perfect for summertime with its catchy choruses, relatable lyrics and solid breakdowns. “Learning To Swim” is a mixture of reggae and 90’s alternative that makes you sway your hips in the wind to Marcia’s soothing vocals before headbanging through the next verse.
The album also addresses the trials and tribulations experienced in surviving as independent musicians, with the dichotomy of also playing some of the biggest festivals like Reading and Leeds, Bestival, California Roots and Glastonbury. Another notable track on the album is “Restless”, featuring GRAMMY-nominated Jamaican reggae star Protoje. Blending Channel 1-era rub-a-dub with a British “Ghost Town”-influenced edge, “Restless” confronts everyday lies and broken promises from our politicians and world leaders.
“The laughable nightmare of what’s happening in the offices of the leaders of the ‘free world’ definitely keeps us awake at night,” says guitarist and vocalist Josh Waters Rudge. “From Downing Street to the White House, this is us venting our 3am thoughts about the wrongdoings and injustices committed by people who are, on paper, there to make people’s lives better.”
When this London-based, ‘tropical punk’ band flew into my inbox, the lads gained a new fan for life and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, as their loyal fan base continues to prove itself this summer with sold out shows throughtout the band’s entire 10-date UK tour, including Shepherd’s Bush Empire, festival slots at Reading and Leeds, Bestival and Glastonbury, even branching over to Top Shelf’s side of the pond with a short June tour through LA, San Diego, Redondo Beach and Riverside.
When this London-based, ‘tropical punk’ band flew into my inbox, the lads gained a new fan for life…
The band cut their teeth in the London ska-punk scene before venturing out to play their first self-booked DIY venture and since then, they’ve toured extensively across the globe, playing as much as 150 shows a year. That’s good news for us; the chances are high that The Skints will make more appearances in the future. Swimming Lessons meshes reggae, ska/rocksteady, 90’s alternative, punk and even a soul song so coherently. It’s a blast to listen to over and over, whether you’re chilling by the pool or stuck in a SoCal Jeep with no A/C during 5pm traffic on the 405, (yes, that’s when I listened to it the first time and The Skints made me almost ENJOY the time staring at another’s front bumper!).
Considering The Skints dub themselves as a ‘ska-punk band’, with much of their earlier work fitting that reputation, the easy, breezy reggae style is definitely a step out on a limb for them and it works well, showcasing their diverse talents and unique sound. Overall, two thumbs up for getting out of the comfort zone and rockin’ the ‘Jah’ hat a little harder in this fourth album. Not every band can pull this genre-bending style off… not only have they pulled it off, but I’m on my toes, eagerly waiting to see them do their thing in their flesh! Swimming Lessons by The Skints is out now and you can find the album on all the usual platforms visiting the links below!
Purchase or stream Swimming Lessons album:
- Learning To Swim
- Restless, feat. Protoje
- Gets On Top
- New Kind Of Friend
- This Is An Interlude
- What Did I Learn Today?
- Oh My Love
- The Island
- I’m A Fool
- Armageddon, feat. Runkus
- Donkey Brain
- La La La
- Love Is The Devil, feat. Jesse Royal
- Stop Looking Back
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.