Like for a great many, the recent release of the single, Keep Me Out Of It, triggered eager intrigue and anticipation for the debut album from UK rockers Skinny Knowledge. It was a virulent slab of feel good alternative rock woven from a fusion of styles which made attention stand tall. The release of Don’t Turn Out The Lights shows the track was a potent hint of the things waiting within the full-length but a mere tasty morsel of a much richer and bolder offering.
Created by vocalist/guitarist Andy L Smooth and completed by guitarist Benjamin Parker, bassist Fenge Davies and drummer Charlie Kenny, Skinny Knowledge merge the punch of alternative rock, the animated contagion of pop punk and the angular dexterity of indie rock for a sound which quickly commands attention. Imagine the essences of Foo Fighters, Green Day and Feeder boiled down and remoulded as one and you have a sense of Skinny Knowledge though as their album proves, the individuality of character and sound belongs to the Bournemouth outfit.
Produced by Lewis Johns (Employed To Serve, Loathe, Conjurer), Don’t Turn Out The Lights instantly rises into life with its title track, the song festering in ears like a tempting mist before a lone riff entices and Smooth’s vocal invite. Immediately the catchiness of the band’s sound is at work, its calm but thick opening soon hosting the rousing surge of sound and intent fuelling the striking opener. It is a strong, indeed slightly tempestuous slab of alt rock, an anthemic uproar which sets the album and attention up perfectly.
An already installed eagerness for what is to come was soon rewarded with the pop punk shenanigans of Imagination where catchy vocals, teasing grooves and rapier rhythms unite in one viral proposition. Not for the first time within the release there is also a great power pop essence which harkens back to the likes of The Motors and The Cars in some ways and aligns perfectly with the punk snarl which also ignites the song.
Alive is next up and quickly uncages its own meld of flavours and dynamics. A classic rock pinch and a hard rock sprinkle add to its exuberant stomp but as it forges its own individuality so a melodic and progressive element teases worthless expectations. Unpredictability is a keen element of a Skinny Knowledge song and proves irresistible within the following King Of Nothing. Melodic rock temptation and punk rock hooks animate the track’s alt rock raucousness, those hooks becoming more devious and mischievous by the minute for one of the album’s major highlights.
The aforementioned Keep Me Out Of It launches its addictiveness next, this another fusion of pop punk and power pop which refuses to be ignored. That Green Day reference is especially ripe here as also an OK Go hue colouring its rousing buoyancy while successor, Not Coming Down, is a nagging slice of zestful rock ‘n’ roll which burrowed under the skin in no time. Both epitomise the boundless infection of the band’s songs and the feel good factor they fuel each with, next up Getaway only echoing that in its own individual arousal of varied rock bred incitement.
A stoner rock breeding brings further diversity and the track Sayonara to ears next, its prowling grooves and curvy dynamics quickly compelling. Even so there is a distinctive Skinny Knowledge tone and invention which fuels the temptation even as the track spirals up into a fiery tempest.
The piano and voice shaped Wheel Of Love provides yet another aspect to the release, the ballad maybe more a grower on personal tastes compared to those around it but leaving a rich emotive impact from its first play before This Time tears through the speaker with punk rock ferocity and new wave fired contagion. Throughout the album Davies’ bass provides a gnarly essence which we devoured and here especially stole the show even in the dynamic company of his colleagues.
As Make A Change infectiously badgered and Take The Blame lustily careered through ears, band and album only enriched the captivation with the second track especially manipulative of participation and enjoyment to offer its own hand for favourite song.
Heavy Metal Interlude provides a minute plus of varied metal nurtured intimation and a nod to another flavouring which is often potently in the veins of songs before slipping into final track Stand Alone. There is something familiar about the track, a recognisable essence resisting pinning down but it does not stop the song giving the record one last rousing moment for ears to keenly devour.
Don’t Turn Out The Lights hit the spot from its first moments and continued to repeat the success track by track. In a time when we are all looking for reasons to raise our spirits and a distraction from confinement on many levels, Skinny Knowledge offer that escape through one refreshing and galvanic album.
Don’t Turn Out The Lights is released March 5th.
Pete RingMaster 05/03/2021
Copyright RingMaster Review