Bands that have post-punk, grunge influences have exploded over the past year or so. SKATERS are part of this ongoing resurgence, and their 11 track debut has improved their position amongst their contemporaries within this renaissance. Their stateside backgrounds have surfaced as ‘Manhattan’ rushes through the busy New York sidewalks, in a way that won’t leave British audiences at all cold.
The opening track, ‘One Of Us’, teases the listener with a delayed intro featuring noises from the cosmopolitan hullabaloo of NYC, allowing the lo-fi guitars to build up to the urgent tone which the track strides forward with. Frontman Michael Cummings’ vocals taunt and craft the instrumentals into a burst of the New York air, before bowing out abruptly and allowing the next track to slide in through a SoHo back door out your view.
‘Symptomatic’ is the 7th - and strongest - track on the album. Every shady corner becomes lit thanks to the fluency of this cut. It features persistent drums, infectious guitar melodies and a killer chorus. The quartet manage to hold back slightly through simplicity of the song. Lead vocals are softer, more easygoing. This tune works perfectly as an introduction to the melody-fueled SKATERS experience.
The quartet also indulge in some more cand-floss soundscapes on ‘Fear Of The Knife’ and ‘Band Breaker’. Both these tracks are wonderfully uplifting, if a little generic. They succeed in showing the scope of SKATERS. The synths, baggy baselines and glucose drenched guitars become more cohesive- using the contagious riffs and tangy lyrics to mould tracks that to a good job of sticking.
The idea of being daunted by skyscrapers becomes a distant memory as these two cuts whisk you to an open area in the suburbs of The Big Apple. It’s refreshing and bright but carries a constant murky undertone that keeps the band compatible with the burgeoning underground DIY scenes that are dispersed across the UK.
Closer, ‘This Much I Care’, allows us to grasp a final dose of SKATERS’ post-punk tomfoolery. The exciting guitar riff and restless beat is a prime opportunity for the band to keep us itching for more. The four-piece have, without a doubt, exceeded themselves with this 11-track offering. Their debut swirls in and out of busy sounds and environments, but never fails to call you back for another look at the sights. For all it’s occasional predictability, the four-piece have made a solid opening gambit. They’ll have no problems translating their recorded sound to a stage where they can fully exercise their Greenwich Village charm.
Words: Cerys Kenneally