What about some reggae summer vibes on 4th August 2023? Okay, there are also elements of rock, dub, punk and even metal in the music by Skindred, who release their new album Smile on that day. It is their first release after five years. I received the album before its release and felt to share my thoughts with you.
Skindred – About The Artists
Skindred have been found in 1998 in Newport in Wales. Nowadays, they are a quintet consisting of singer Benji Webbe, guitarist Milkey Demus, bassist Daniel Pugsley, drummer Arja Goggin and Dan Sturgess (DJ and sampling). Webbe and Pugsley are founding members of the band. Despite being a British band, their first chart entry was by their debut album Babylon, which just made it into the US-American Billboard album charts. However, the epicenter of their success more and more moved towards their home country. For example, their previous release Big Tings (2018) topped the British Metal Charts.
Skindred – Smile – Track by Track
The twelve song album lasts 43 minutes. I initially had a different order of songs for my review – hope this is the right one.
1. Our Religion
Smile is already the eighth album by the British band. The song comes with a typical crossover sound. No doubt that Skindred wanted to have an intense guitar sound here. However, there are also alternative elements reminding of gospel and hip hop in the opener. It is just too hard to define this band by one single, simple genre.
2. Gimme That Boom
Just gimme that boom boom boom – the song is definitely coming with a lot of boom. The sound is even more energetic and powerful than the opener. The guitars are running at full power, Benji Webbe is presenting a firework of different vocal styles. The result is a very present, catching song.
3. Set Fazers
This single release starts a bit slower, but then is having sprinkles of rather bombast elements as well. Nonetheless, Set Fazers is a showcase for the lead vocalist of the band.
4. Life That’s Free
Similar to its predecessor, Life That’s Free starts rather slow. The song has a clear reggae heart, even though it soon develops a rock song character. The wide range of influences by different genres leads to a entertaining, versatile listen.
5. If I Could
If I Could is one of the best songs of the album. Some parts feel like a gentle rock ballad – just in order to quickly change into a straight rock song with hip hop elements. The chorus, which feels like a very straight 2000’s rocker, is made to stay in your mind.
6. L.O.V.E. (Smile Please)
This track is somehow the hidden title track of the album. The girls’ choir alike in the shouts, combined with the brass sounds and the reggae vibes lead to a really groovy listen.
7. This Appointed Love
The reggae style lives on the next song, The Appointed Love. Almost the full first minute of This Appointed Love in fact feels like a reggae track, before Skindred release their guitar powers. It might sound weird at first sight – but the Welsh really make this combination of sounds work out well.
8. Black Stars
The choir of L:O.V.E. (Smile Please) is back in this one (at least at the beginning). On top of that, there are police sirens, nu metal and a lot of force and aggression.
9. State of the Union
State of the Union is a nice summer hit. The song feels like a reggae-pop-hip hop blend, there are just scattered rock sprinkles. Very groovy sound, which even comes with a lot of mainstream radio potential. Very nice one.
With some traffic sounds at the beginning, hip sounds and reggae vibes, the song reminds me of large town life. The chorus is very rocking and melodic, though. While I typically love the balance between the different genres in this album, I slightly struggle with Addicted. The bridge is nice, though.
This band is making me smile. Mama is a straight reggae song with a cool groove. Compared to other songs, the band feels so clean, almost innocent in songs like this.
Unstoppable is the chucker-out of the album. The song has a stronger rock and metal character again, but also comes with groovy, fluent melodies. Nice one to close Smile.
Skindred – Smile – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Skindred – Smile – My View
These guys fascinate me and make me Smile (a straight way to use the album title). In most of the songs, they combine genres, which you would swear they don’t work together. Skindred simply does it – and ctreate a unique, really cool sound. I feel once in your life, you should listen to a Skindred album – and maybe you listen to some more ones thereafter.
Skindred – Tour 2023/24
After playing some festivals this summer, Skindred are playing quite a bunch of songs from October 2023 until early 2024.
|Fr 06.10.2023||Northampton (United Kingdom) – Roadmender|
|Sa 07.10.2023||Leeds – O2 Academy Leeds|
|Fr 13.10.2023||Cambridge – Cambridge Junction|
|Sa 14.10.2023||Norwich – Epic Studios|
|Th 19.10.2023||Nottingham – Rock City|
|Fr 20.10.2023||Newcastle – NX Newcastle|
|Sa 21.10.2023||Glasgow – The Garage|
|Th 26.10.2023||Margate – Dreamland|
|Fr 27.10.2023||Brighton – Chalk|
|Sa 28.10.2023||Bristol – O2 Academy Bristol|
|Fr 3.11.2023||Sheffield – Leadmill|
|Sa 04.11.2023||Lincoln – The Engine Shed|
|Fr 10.11.2023||Cardiff – The Great Hall|
|Sa 11.11.2023||Southampton – O2 Guildhall Southampton|
|Fr 17.11.2023||Belfast – Limelight|
|Sa 18.11.2023||Dublin (Ireland) – The Academy|
|We 29.11.2023||Leipzig (Germany) – Täubchenthal|
|Th 30.11.2023||Frankfurt – Batschkapp|
|Fr 01.12.2023||Prague (Czechia) – Lucerna Music Bar|
|Sa 02.12.2023||Vienna (Austria) – Simm City|
|Mo 04.12.2023||Zurich (Switzerland) – Dynamo|
|Tu 05.12.2023||Munich (Germany) – Backstage|
|We 06.12.2023||Karlsruhe – Substage|
|Su 10.12.2023||Berlin – Metropol|
|Tu 12.12.2023||Hamburg – Markthalle|
|We 13.12.2023||Cologne – Live Music Hall|
|Th 14.12.2023||Paris (France) – Trabendo|
|Fr 15.12.2023||Amsterdam (Netherlands) – Melkweg|
|Th 14.03.2024||Manchester (United Kingdom) – Manchester Academy|
|Fr 15.03.2024||London – OVO Arena Wembley|
|Sa 16.03.2024||Birmingham – O2 Arena Birmingham|
Here are all my postings related to reggae music: