The debut album of American three-piece band, Skaters, is likely to be a strong competitor in the indie music scene, which will no doubt catch a number of peoples attention. Manhattan displays the band’s strengths, playing on rich riffs, electronic recordings, classic melodies, and forceful vocals. The band, who formed in 2012, have gone from strength to strength, with this album demonstrating the quality of their musical talents as well as their sharp creative style. Lyrics revolve around friends, money and New York, reminding everyone that “we’ve all got problems”.
The album begins with the song ‘One Of Us’, a strong opener, using electronic recordings and heavy bass lines. The first lyric I hear is “throwing up on a train”, which gives a pretty good indication as to how the album is going to continue and allude to the band’s own life.
‘Miss Teen Massachusetts’ is the second track, recently released as a single, it received good reviews and gained popularity quickly, with over 40,000 views on YouTube. Similarly to ‘I Don’t Wanna Dance’, it has a much more popular rock sound, easily relatable to a wider audience and translatable into indie clubs and radio play. The lead singer’s, Michael Ian Cummings, vocals are strained and clamoured, striking similarities to Cage The Elephant and The Strokes. This demonstrates a deeper feeling of emotion into the line “I guess you’ll never change your mind, at least you know how hard I’ve tried”.
My personal favourites from the album are ‘To Be Young in NYC’ and ‘Fear Of The Knife’. ‘To Be Young in NYC’ maintains a more sentimental sound, as proud New Yorkers themselves, the band’s now home-city must hold a lot of value. Potentially mocking the rich youth of New York, it plays on the Gossip Girl perception of the new ‘rich and dumb’ generation. ‘Fear Of The Knife’ takes a different approach to many of the other songs on the album, with the intro and choruses relying on a simple quiet bass line and crooning vocals. The song makes a subtle dig at the American capitalist system, with lyrics such as “and the doctors still get paid when you’re six feet underground” and “tax men come take away your things”.
The album itself flows well, moving from track to track fluently. However, this can easily be considered a flaw, with many of the tracks sounding unfortunately similar. Containing similar riffs and vocal styles, the album lives up to the the lazy, monochrome grunge scene they are a part of.