Though based in Greenwich, London, the band have roots all over England and further afield, melodeon and mandolin player Max Thomas and singer sister Lorna hail from Leicestershire, frontman Dan Heptinstall from Bridlington, concertina player Sam Brace (now back in the fold after being briefly replaced by Andy Black on guitar and mandolin) is from Hastings and double bassist Michael Camino from, well, Hawaii, actually.
The album was recorded way back in December 2013 and quite why it’s taken over a year to appear is a matter of speculation, but you’ll be pleased to know that it’s even more of a beer-swilling offering than their debut, Forge & Flagon; and that was even named after a pub. Clanging opener ‘Raise A Wreck’, a song which pretty much revolves around the title’s chorus refrain, serves reminder of their reputation for rousing shanty-punk, crashing straight into ‘Trouble In Oxford Street’, a bounce along tale of a punch up, while, Laura sharing lead and evocative of the booze-sodden flurry that was the first Pogues album, ‘George’s Glass’ is an ode to pub lock ins, ‘Six Whiskies’ is a drunken sway home after throwing out time and ‘Bold As Brass’ clatters along with the narrator singing about seeing his ex swagger into the pub with her new bloke.
They do have a couple of quieter, slower moments, both showcasing Laura and both with a traditional feel, the simple, airy shanty ‘Bonny Away’ and fiddle accompanied album love song closer ‘The Dreich’, but it’s the breakneck stompers that are their forte, whether jubilant as on ‘Cathy’, defiant as with the concertina driven battle cry ‘This Is War ‘or, sounding a lot like a cross between The Men They Couldn’t Hang and Tenpole Tudor, ‘Ten Thousand Voices’.
While probably best experienced live, turned up loud and with some accompanying suitable lubrication, the album is a rollicking affair and, for a band named after the pioneer of antiseptics they’re certainly far from sterile.
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Artists’ website: http://skinnylister.com/
‘Trouble On Oxford Street’ – the official video: