3 June 2018

Skindred - Big Tings


I’m finding the older I get, there fewer & fewer bands and artists which I class as “Hard Working”.  These are the bands and artists who keep on releasing consistently improving, recording great records and that do massive tours.  It seems to be that in this modern age, some bands are studio projects, or they don’t play everywhere and anywhere.  Now, I’m not saying these are bad ways for bands to exist.  If that is the right format/model for an act, then who am I to judge.  But I also love it when bands will play anywhere and anytime.  Skindred is one of those types of bands in my mind’s eye.  They have been going for so long that it feels weird when they aren’t releasing an album.  After the brilliant Volume was released in 2015, Skindred has never been far away from my personal playlist.  Ever since Big Tings was announced, I knew I would give it a review.  Once it arrived, I wanted to give it time to settle in my mind.  So, how has it turned out?

The first thing with Big Tings I’ve noticed with the shift towards a heavier rock direction.  There is a heaviness to this record that goes way beyond the pop & reggae-infused version of Skindred.  On songs such as “Machine” (with Gary Stringer from Reef) and “Last Change”, Skindred have unleashed some of the heaviest rock-oriented riffs that I’ve heard from them.  These are different to their metal side; the differences are subtle but noticeable at the same time.  There is also that brilliant hybrid side to the band, the ability to mix influences to create something different.  The rap on “Last Chance” for example is a great example of how rap-rock can still be a relevant genre.  Also, “Alive” is a great song which recalls the sound of Pendulum from years ago but giving it a new twist.

But this is not saying that Skindred has changed their spots, they’re still able to able to create a noisy racket that sounds like it would start a mosh pit in an empty room.  Tracks such as “All This Time” and the brilliant title track as storming songs, they will get a room moving in an instant.  The same can be said about “That’s My Jam”, but it approaches it in a different way, the bass is more important on “That’s My Jam”, giving it a groove that is irresistible.  They have also kept the track count down to ten, which suits their style so well.  Keep it short and sweet, leaving the audience wanting more.

Are there any issues with Big Tings?  Well, if I was looking for issues, I would just be looking for something to complain about just for the hell of it.  It just a good, honest record that sets out to rock.  It might not be as instant as Volume, it might feel a little safe at times, but that isn’t a problem for me.  Sometimes if something works, why try to change that formula?  If you’re good at something, then that is what you should do and Skindred does it damn well!  Big Tings is an excellent follow up to Volume, hopefully, it’ll lead to bigger things going forward!

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart

Top track – Machine

You can purchase Big Tings on Amazon here.

You can visit the Skindred website here.

You can follow the activities of Skindred on Facebook here.

You can stream Big Tings on Spotify here.

You can stream Big Tings on Deezer here.

You can stream Big Tings on Tidal here.

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