SKINNER & T’WITCH – Everybody’s Grotty (own label)

Everybody's GrottyIn the course of reviewing Skinner & T’Witch’s debut album, Rise, I mused on nominative determinism and wondered whether if Sandra Twitchett had not acquired the name T’Witch it might not have had the mythological feel that it did. There is no such issue with their third album Everybody’s Grotty, which is a collection of essentially comic songs all written by Steve Skinner and with a sting in their tails.

The title track, which opens the set, takes a swipe at the perfection of film and television personalities while the rest of us are less photogenic. Steve writes in a variety of styles so ‘Breakaway In A Takeaway’ is a country pastiche, the story of a girl who works in the titular establishment and the trucker who deserts her. Of course, it’s more Scunthorpe than Santa Fe which is part of the joke. In ‘The Ageing Special Agent’ he tackles the feel of James Bond movie themes with assistance from the brass of Sue Pope and Barry Pope considering the fate of secret agents of pensionable age – itself something of a joke. Sandra’s powerful voice really gives authority to this one.

‘Money, Money, Money’ is an attack on corrupt bankers as is ‘Offshore’ – although there is no suggestion that keeping your money in the Virgin Isles is in any way illegal – and you don’t need me to tell you what ‘The Election’ is about. ‘Too Many Feet’ is about immigration … starting with the Vikings and Normans (although Steve blames the Romans). Elsewhere Skinner & T’Witch tackle marital discord (twice), the transience of the pleasure of foreign holidays and the legacy of Sweeney Todd – repeated in a hidden track in the style of Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett.

I must confess that I’m not really a great fan of comedy/satirical albums but this is one I can listen to again.

Dai Jeffries

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