18 Jan 2022

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Skank Bandit - Album Review: Blood, Sweat and Beers

29 Jul 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

Blood, Sweat and Beers is the second album by Skank Bandit, a quartet who describe their music as an explosive combination of reggae, rock, ska, funk, metal, and punk, and to be honest they have hit the nail right on the head. When people think of punk, particularly British punk, they tend to focus on the out and out aggression of Sex Pistols and the like and tend to forget that some of the bands had far broader tastes and influences, and such was the case of The Clash. In the bio on their website, they describe London Calling as combining rock 'n roll, soul, jazz, ska, reggae, and funk, all given a Clash twist with crisp guitars and culturally evocative lyrics, and this was what I thought of when first hearing this. Punk is often three minutes of solid aggression, little room for expression or real musicality, yet ska and reggae bands are built around the rhythm, and here we have masters at play in Matthew Mahood (bass, backing vocals) and Jarrod Hooper (drums, backing vocals). Matthew has a wonderfully fluid touch, sometimes playing single notes and at others providing complex and intricate lines, while Jarrod is constantly changing the attack and time signatures.

This means that Wes James (vocals, guitar) and Tecwyn King (lead guitar, backing vocals) have the opportunity to just go for whatever they want, so we can get the title cut which starts off with shouted vocals, then solid riffs before we venture into ska. One never knows what is going to come up next, but certainly it isn’t the learned gentleman providing the Professor Sherman Finkelstein Thesis. Somehow, I think this will sound quite different when it is played live, and oh boy I do hope it is played live. As he states, “there is no known cure for this condition”. I was already thoroughly enjoying the album by then, but this just brought a huge smile to my face, and unlike some interludes this one can be played repeatedly. There are times when the only thing to do is get up and have a groove around the room, it is that infectious.

If this was just about the music, then I would be highly recommending it, as it is wonderfully diverse and compelling, yet this isn’t all. If one is fortunate enough to see the guys play live, then it is possible to purchase a 32-page A4 full colour high quality book, which contains the lyrics plus original artwork from a series of artists. To tie in with this, the Gover Street gallery in New Plymouth featured an interactive exhibition titled Pieces of The Puzzle: Art inspired by Music. This had 12 “stations” (one for each song), where attendees could listen to each song, read the lyrics, and view 2-4 pieces of art per song (not all pieces of art made it into the book) The exhibition also featured a live performance from the band, and they are hoping to be able to take it around the country. Until that happens, sit back, and relax in what is a wonderfully innovative and enjoyable piece of work.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Skank Bandit

Using an explosive combination of reggae, rock, ska, funk, metal and punk, Skank Bandit make no apologies when mashing together their eclectic sound.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Skank Bandit


Blood, Sweat & Beers
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Year: 2020
Type: EP

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