Londonium folky alternative types Skinny Lister drop their fourth long player – A loosely-based concept album, “‘The Story Is…’ anthologises a series of personal vignettes inspired by a chaotic few years for the band and binds them into 14 tracks of unmistakably Skinny-sounding rock’n’roll”. Well, that’s the press blurb sorted then. Concept albums? ‘The Wall’ yuck,  ‘American Idiot’ that’s better –  so not such a daunting prospect then. The band have a sparkling production on this record with swirling keyboards  big drum sound and some fantastic vocal performances all wrapped up in some poptastic melodies like the huge ‘My Life My Architecture’

The band can go from balladic pop like the wheezing accordion of ‘Diesel Vehicle’  as it just drifts by like a modern-day Kinks or a hint of Lennon going on within the tracks DNA.  The album sees the band expand their horizons and arguably finds them in the most potent pop form of their career. ‘The Story Is…’ Produced and mixed by the highly capable Barny Barnicott (Arctic Monkeys, The Enemy, The Temper Trap) does a fantastic job twiddling the knobs.
‘Rattle And Roar’ will have the folky side of their work fans purring. ‘Artist Arsonist’ begins to get a little bit piraty for my taste and I’m not won back until the title track hits like Eels in its arrangement,  the song just gently rolls by complete with lush strings. Things pick up on ’38 Minutes’ as the band just get their rock on and sound like something between Teardrop Explodes and maybe some of Strummer’s solo work.
with possibly the albums best couple of songs towards the latter part of the record ‘Stop And Breath’ is another gentle acoustic stroll and dare I say it even easy listening.  Do I have to hand in my punk rock membership or is it ok to expand one’s horizons? ‘Cause For Chorus’ is back on that Strummer tip or even veering ever so slightly into Billy Bragg territory. They really get down to business on ‘Alister McAlister’ again rockin’ out in a strummer lite manner.
In summery its a really mixed bag of an album.  It sounds like a hit and a production and mix that should have wide appeal and a handful of songs that really resonate but it is interspersed with a few tracks that didn’t do anything for me or the continuity of this album which is a shame because it started so well and certainly ended well.


Author: Dom Daley