Skaters – Manhattan Album Review
Manhattan – If you couldn’t tell by the title or the mini city-life vignettes splattered strategically throughout the album, this offering is an ode to New York City. This New York City based quartet has delivered a tome to life in the Big Apple at least from the perspective of a young male protagonist getting to really know the city. On this, their debut, Skaters offer up an album that absolutely demands your attention.
At times, I picture the band as the next Cage The Elephant, Replacements, or sticking closer to their home, The Strokes, but other times they seem just another over-hyped New York next big thing. So which one are they? I’d say that they’re more of the former. There’s talent here for sure and plenty a cause for optimism. Toss out a few of the weaker offerings and it’s a damn good album.
The album is packed with catchy rock offerings interestingly arranged around little vignettes of life in the city. There’s a copious amount of catchy rock tunes, but all is not perfect in The Big City.
Let me start the review by peeking at the first four songs, track by track. Doing this, we see a nice microcosm of the entire album.
“One Of Us” is an aggressive edgy rocker that gets the album off to a smashing start. The song features a bouncy synth opening, but at its core, it’s simply killer guitar-driven rock. “Miss Teen Massachusetts” is an abrupt change of pace. It’s a more melodic offering with a slick guitar riff and it’s another excellent track, this one quite reminiscent of Cage The Elephant. Then it’s “Deadbolt,” a breakneck rocker that absolutely exudes cool punk swagger. Three excellent offerings but all quite different.
It’s about this time where I started wondering “what the hell do these guys want to be?” Then to drive the point home further, the next track is a reggae infused jam in the snappy “Band Breaker. I’m not intent on a every band fitting neatly into a tight niche that defines the artist perfectly, but these guys are too scattered; a shame because their stuff is well-written and generally catchy as hell.
I found myself instantly drawn towards half a dozen songs on the album, but still felt like I was listening to an iPod on shuffle, as the selections were all over the rock music map.
There’s little doubt that this band will be a player in the rock scene for years to come, they just drip with musical talent and exude potential. Personally, I’d like to see them focus their approach a bit and decide what they really want to be when they grow up. Until then, listen to the album yourself and buy the tracks that best fit your tastes. I can absolutely guarantee there are at least a few gems for everyone’s liking.
To me, Skaters are at their absolute best when they’re tearing through pop punk offerings; songs like “I Wanna Dance But I Don’t Know How” and “One Of Us.” Check out Manhattan below an decide for yourself. I’d love to hear your thoughts; let us know what you think in the comments below, on Twitter or Facebook.
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