Everyone’s favourite folk-punks, Skinny Lister’s new album, The Story Is…, is catchy and upbeat. But of course, you’d expect nothing less from them. Dotted throughout are small moments of brilliance. Their signature tongue-in-cheek humour and rip-roaring folk style prevail here, making their fourth album one of their best yet.
The Story Is… highlights the lyrical ability of the six-piece. ‘Second Amendment’ opens the album and immediately draws you in with a cryptic story. Beneath the usual Skinny Lister flair is a hint of something different; a vintage ska sound peeks through as the song grows into something explosive and energetic.
Parts of this new Skinny LP shout their new influences from the rooftops. Others, like the flippantly funny ‘Diesel Vehicle’ stick to the basics. The simplicity of this is refreshing, allowing Dan Heptinstall’s story to shine. ‘Artist Arsonist’ is another song that places emphasis on the story within. The bassline holds things together musically, while the vocals and killer chorus get heads bopping.
Heptinstall’s vocal is powerful and suits Skinny Lister’s bold hits. In contrast to his vocal is Lorna Thomas’. Sultry and smooth, ‘The Shining’ really displays her vocal prowess. The focus of The Story Is… is of course storytelling, and while Thomas’ vocal is wonderful, the meaning in her words is difficult to discern. The repetitive nature sees attention wane, but as background listening this song is great.
‘Stop & Breathe’ is a delicate, thoughtful piece. The harmonising and heartfelt lyrics create a melancholy atmosphere, which it shatters as the pace picks up. Safe and comforting, this song is one of the stand-outs, reminding us of the importance of moments of peace – which is exactly what this song is.
Closing this mighty album is the brilliant ‘Any Resemblance to Actual Persons, Living or Dead, Is Purely Coincidental’. The title is a bit of a mouthful but the song itself is a belter. With a funky bassline and a witty sense of humour woven throughout, it’s impossible to dislike this song.
The Story Is… manages to draw inspiration from mundane daily events and spin them into something exciting and timeless. While the odd track feels repetitive, the new sound that Skinny Lister are forging is a great one. Each of the 14 new songs offers something different. If their upcoming tour is half as big and boisterous as this album, attendees will be in for a treat.
The Story Is... is released March 1st via Xtra Mile Records