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Skaters - Manhattan (Album Review)

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 Written by Huw Baines

If the title of their debut record isn’t enough of a hint, Skaters are all about New York. Whether it’s their self-professed love for the city’s grimy ‘70s punk scene, the snatches of conversation that litter the spaces between their songs or the obvious debt owed to the Strokes and their ilk, the city’s influence is printed right across ‘Manhattan’.

Unfortunately, the danger of a pre-commercialised CBGB or the zeitgeist-skewering power of ‘Is This It’ are absent. Skaters are far from being a bad band and, in fact, with a little judicious editing ‘Manhattan’ could have been a fun, exciting EP. But as it stands, several notable highs stand awkwardly shoulder-to-shoulder with songs that aren’t their equal.

Miss Teen Massachusetts, one of the record's singles, is brashly melodic and anthemic in an endearingly scuzzy manner. Schemers, too, reaps rewards of slowing down just a little, offering Joey Ramone vowels in its staccato chorus. 

I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How) is a potent burst of sugary indie-pop, while the dancing guitar lines of This Much I Care provide a high energy full stop at the album’s end.

But, One Of Us and Deadbolt plod terribly and Nice Hat is a substandard jolt of flippant hardcore influences. Two excursions into sloppy reggae, Band Breaker and Fear Of The Knife, come off as sub-Clash experiments better left on the cutting room floor. ‘Manhattan’, then, is an opportunity missed.

Skaters UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows

Thu February 27 2014 - BRISTOL Exchange, Bristol
Fri February 28 2014 - BIRMINGHAM Hare and Hounds
Sat March 01 2014 - LEEDS Cockpit
Sun March 02 2014 - NOTTINGHAM Bodega Social
Mon March 03 2014 - GLASGOW King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
Tue March 04 2014 - MANCHESTER Deaf Institute
Wed March 05 2014 - LONDON Dingwalls
Thu March 06 2014 - SOUTHAMPTON Joiners

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