ALBUM REVIEW: Skinny Lister - The Devil, The Heart & The Fight!

Skinny Lister are one of those groups who defy conventional pigeon-holing.
Skinny Lister - The Devil, The Heart, The Fight! (Xtra Mile Recordings).Skinny Lister - The Devil, The Heart, The Fight! (Xtra Mile Recordings).
Skinny Lister - The Devil, The Heart, The Fight! (Xtra Mile Recordings).

Are they a folk band, an indie band or a punk band? The answer is yes to all of those, to varying degrees.

What is undeniable is that they're one of the UK's music's best up and coming artists, but if there's any justice they won't be up and coming for long.

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Through touring with the likes of labelmate Frank Turner, Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys, they've earned a reputation as a fine live proposition.

Their records aren't bad either; this is their third album, after 2012's promising debut Forge & Flagon and last year's even better follow-up, Down On Deptford Broadway.

Written on the road, and recorded with producer Tristan Ivemy (Frank Turner, The Holloways), it is the London-based six-piece's most mature and accomplished offering yet.

Opening track Wanted, which demands "I want to feel alive" is a typically upbeat start, and it is followed by Geordie Lad and Tragedy In A Minor, two more pacey songs which fit into their live set like a glove.

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The first indication that they have more than roustabout singalongs in their armoury comes with Devil In Me, where we hear co-vocalist Lorna Thomas for the first time, and it is a welcome change of pace.

Skinny Lister aren't afraid to wear their influences on their sleeve: Injuries has a hint of The Stone Roses to it, while Fair Winds & Following Seas makes you wonder how many Dexy's records they've been listening to it on their travels.

The rocked-up sea shanty Beat It From The Chest is probably the most typically Skinny Lister tune on the album, all anthemic gang vocals encouraging - no, demanding - that you sing along.

Hamburg Drunk, where Lorna again takes lead vocals, is the track most likely to evince the inevitable Pogues comparisons, and you can certainly imagine Shane MacGowan slurring it out.

Watch out for the name Skinny Lister, and go to see them if you can. They're a band you really shouldn't miss out on. 7/10.