The Skints are back with their second, Pledgemusic funded album, Part and Parcel. The band have been firmly establishing themselves as one of the most exciting live acts that the UK ska scene has to offer, but is Part and Parcel an album for the fans to be proud of?
The short answer is a resounding yes. Part and Parcel is quite simply, magnificent. Opening track, Rise Up, is surprisingly downbeat for the first track upon first listen but provides a call to arms for their fans alongside a ridiculously catchy reggae beat. Right from the start, an element of experimentation begins to show as a clear hip-hop influence starts to rear its head, which is weaves its way throughout the album and creates a really unique sound. The Skints have always stood apart from their contemporaries but Part and Parcel truly celebrates those differences as well as showcasing some great songwriting and musicianship. While the album is significantly less influenced by punk than previous offerings, this is by no means a weakness and the band present an intricately crafted record that is no doubt will become one of the most important albums of the year.
One of the most noticeable traits throughout is the soulful vocals from Josh Water Rudge and Marcia Richards in contrast to their impressive rapping. The track that probably showcases this most is Ratatat, which is potentially one of the best songs The Skints have ever written. Ever. Vocals aside, Ratatat has an insanely dirty bassline and is guaranteed to tear the dancefloor apart. While Part and Parcel is, at times, fairly understated, almost every track makes you take notice. Marcia makes a much greater appearance in this album and takes their sound up a level, from some subtle vocals in Up Against The Wall Riddim to a much wider range of instruments penetrating through. It’s not to say that this wasn’t there before, but on Part and Parcel, it’s much more apparent and as a result, helps in crafting a much more impressive sound.
In this album, more so than perhaps their previous work, The Skints show themselves as true storytellers and the pictures they paint of lives and London throughout the album are incomparable. There’s cheeky romance in Lay You Down, poverty and struggle in Live East Die Young and self-doubt and relationship breakdowns in Sunny Sunny, as well as a number of other significant topics. Part and Parcel is simply so relevant – every song has a different message and while those messages are completely current, they’re also timeless.
Part and Parcel is absolutely sublime and a fantastic example of what can be achieved through Pledgemusic. Do yourself a favour and don’t miss out on what could well prove to be the best album of the year.
5 out of 5 high fives!