Written over the past 18 months, Skinny Lister’s new album ‘A Matter Of Life & Love’ is in essence a collection of true stories and feelings that have really ‘mattered’ to them.
While the album contains all the typically enlivening tales from the road that have made Skinny Lister the stuff of festival legend, from disturbing touring tales of being pulled over by Bavarian police (‘Bavaria Area’) to full throttle airport drinking songs (‘Breakfast At Heathrow’); dig deeper and you’ll find a record that might well be their most personal and profound yet.
Centrepiece and title-track, ‘A Matter Of Life & Love’, stands at the very heart of the album. Crystallising the record’s core themes with a Madness-esque playfulness, it’s a poppy and poignant reminder to recognise the moments in life that really matter, however trivial or throwaway they may seem at the time. “It’s a sentiment likely borne out of those months of enforced limited social contact endured over the past few months” reflects Dan. And one not likely to be taken for granted by anyone, or any band for that matter, any time soon.
The Skinnies’ admirable ‘in this together’ ethos is echoed through stirring anthems such as ‘Shout It Out’ and ‘Shoulder To Shoulder’, which offer rousing singalongs primed and ready for a new age of live music. Skinny Lister’s adept ability for a heartstring plucking ballad also remains evident in tracks such as ‘Embers’, an elegant folky composition led by Lorna and destined to make Skinny fans everywhere crumble. Elsewhere, the celtic-tinged, string-adorned gem ‘Bonny’s Eyes’ offers a touching tribute to the wonder of being a new parent.
And harking a return to the original rootsy Skinny Lister sound, ‘Damn The Amsterdam’ is a straight-up sea shanty which echoes the style and stomp of ‘John Kanaka’ from their first album ‘Forge & Flagon’. Written about a famous Hastings shipwreck, it features salty guest harmonies courtesy of folk pin-ups: The Longest Johns.
Bringing together all their influences and styles, from ska to rock and from folk-punk to traditional shanty, throughout its 12 tracks ‘A Matter Of Life & Love’ is in many ways the distillation of everything that has seen the world fall for Skinny Lister’s charms. And yet, as the first record to be entirely written, produced, recorded and mixed by Skinny Lister themselves, it finds a band with a bolstered sense of confidence and a gleeful skip in their stride. Proving a unique opportunity for the band to create, experiment, and hone music of their own volition, it’s a process that finds a band in liberated form and realising the full Skinny Lister vision as they have always intended it.