Famed for raucous live performances, Skinny Lister have always embraced a piratical approach to their music. Bellowing choruses, passing flagons of grog around audiences, they have established a deserved reputation on the gigging circuit. Transferring that energy into the recording studio is no easy task, yet on Down On Deptford Broadway, Skinny Lister have captured the chanting joy that makes this band so much fun.
Tales of drinking, fighting, loving and London all collide in this jigging mosh of a record. The spirit of The Pogues, the clenched fist of Dropkick Murphys… there’s plenty of bar room history captured here. But Down On Deptford Broadway is more than a homage to folk punk lore; On ‘What Can I say’ and ‘Bonny Away’ the band demonstrate their ability to play with delicacy, slowing the pace of an otherwise breathless album and providing an excellent balance to proceedings.
Lorna Thomas threatens to steal the show with her excellent, and hugely varied voice. Her call and response on drinking shanty ‘George’s Glass’ will draw comparisons to Kirsty MacColl’s work on The Pogues classic ‘Fairytale of New York’. Her backing vocals on ‘Cathy’ add a dramatic new dimension to an ode to destructive love and her singing on ‘Bonny Away’ is stunningly beautiful.
‘Trouble on Oxford Street’, ‘6 Whiskies’, ‘This Is War’ and ‘Bold As Brass’ see bassist Michael Camino and drummer Thom Mills pushing the rhythm forward at fast pace. Sam Brace provides a swaying, drunken swing on concertina with Max Thomas (brother of Lorna) weighing in with melodeon and mandolin. Chanting and roaring in chorus, the band succeed in capturing the pulsating power of their stage show.
If you’ve not had the flagon passed to you at a Skinny Lister gig, go and see them as soon as possible. While you’re waiting for your tickets to arrive, go to the shop and pick up a copy of Down On Deptford Broadway. The album is a collection of city shanties that bristles with beer soaked abandon and is a fine snapshot of a band constantly growing in stature.
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