Skint & Demoralised
- Malcolm Jack
- 19 February 2009
Wakefield/Sheffield duo Skint & Demoralised’s stuff at first sounds like a shamelessly derivative take on The Streets’ geezery ruminations on life and love, sung in an Arctic Monkeys-esque brash northern lilt and produced in the Mark Ronson Stax/Motown-lite style. Yet their story reveals much less contrived beginnings than the end product perhaps does justice to.
Young vocalist Matt Abbott started out not as an aspiring pop star, but rather a performance poet, supping lager and spilling rhymes on the West Yorkshire spoken word circuit. It was only the intervention of enigmatic producer MiNI dOG, through what else but MySpace, that saw Abbot’s stanzas reshaped into songs, heralding the duo’s signature to Mercury Records.
Sessions followed in New York with The Dap-Kings, the backing band on Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black and Mark Ronson’s Version. The results revealed so far are a mixed bag. Radio friendly indie soul janglers à la ‘The Thrill of Thirty Seconds’ barely surpass the forgettable laddish fare of Little Man Tate, Hard-Fi and Reverend and the Makers for depth and imagination. Yet the likes of ‘BNP: Nazis on the Doorstep’, a one-minute spoken word wonder in which Abbott smartly slays the far right’s xenophobic imagining of the British way of life, prove that he can take a subject to task succinctly and intelligently.
The new young voices of our time, or merely the latest recruits to the same but different brigade? Skint & Demoralised’s debut album Love, and Other Catastrophes arrives in May, and will be the Yorkshire pudding in which you’ll find the proof.
King Tut’s, Glasgow, Fri 20 Feb