SOUL BOY II ALBUM RELEASE
With swaggering indie anthems such as ‘Iconic’ and ‘Put Me Down As A Maybe’ plus huge reactions when supporting Kasabian and The Streets, The Skinner Brothers spent 2021 establishing themselves as an essential new hope for British rock ‘n’ roll. Highlighted at #5 in The Sun’s Artists to Watch in 2022, the band capitalise on their rising status with recent release of their new album ‘Soul Boy II’ and its lead single ‘Stupid Much’
Collectively, ‘Soul Boy II’ provides a sonic snapshot of young culture in contemporary Britain. The album features numerous fan favourites and live staples that the band have established their reputation with, including ‘Low’, ‘Culture Non-Stop’, ‘Mountain High’ and an acoustic take on ‘Away Days’. But there’s plenty of essential new music for fans to discover too, whether it’s with the baggy, indie-dance grooves of ‘Way Too Far’, the power-pop bounce of ‘1000 Reasons Why’ or the groove and grit of ‘Give It All To Me’.
“We wanted to put all of the music we’ve made over the past year or so into a collection. It definitely feels like a real moment in the life of The Skinner Brothers. I’ve got a wicked band together, we’ve done some amazing gigs of our own and been out with The Streets and Kasabian, and released a whole clutch of songs that we’re fucking proud of, so we’ve put them all into ‘Soul Boy II’.
“We worked hard to make sure every single song had to fight for its place in the team and I’m looking forward to people getting the chance to listen to it all in one go. Then we go out on our biggest tour to date. Hitting as many towns and cities where people want to hear and see proper bands playing proper fucking music again. It’s time.”
In contrast to their riotous, rabble-rousing anthems, the single ‘Stupid Much?’ shows a completely different and unexpected side to the The Skinner Brothers . Set to an almost hip-hop flavoured rhythm, frontman Zac Skinner addresses the anxieties and coping strategies.
“Stupid Much’ is a bit of a different vibe from the tunes we’ve been putting out so far. It’s a song about regret. We all have them and we’ve all been there – me included, just more than most people. This is sort of the hangover song I suppose.”
Zac Skinner on the whole wrote, produced and recorded the majority of ‘Soul Boy II’ in his home studio in Brentford, west London. Other collaborators included mixing from the Grammy-nominated James Krausse, and guest appearances from Rob Harvey (The Music) and Russ Pritchard (Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, previously of The Zutons). A bonus version of ‘Stupid Much?’ also features rhymes from rapper Teef, who previously collaborated with Tonga (Mike Skinner and Murkage Dave).
After listening to the new album, we took a couple of our favourite tracks and reviewed as follows:
Mountain High – As a standalone song, this would be a winner; as an album opener, it’s top-tier Olympic podium level. Mountain High goes straight on the attack, kicking in with a rapid, fuzzy flanging guitar and never letting up. You know right away that this album means business – it’s a bold statement of intent from the get go. I’ve heard other songs that start with similar confidence but somehow lose steam, but not here. There’s stamina and sustained momentum from all of the parts that make up the track – the drums are bang on rock-steady, laying down a pulsing beat; the vocals are devil-may-care and overflowing with attitude; and even the use of pauses and silences is done in a way which somehow pushes the song forward rather than creating any break.
Stupid Much? – After the energy of ‘Iconic’, the closing section of the album enters a noticeably slower phase. ‘Stupid Much?’ appears twice – the second time also featuring Teef (with the slightly more tongue-in-cheek ‘Way Too Far’ sitting in the middle of the two versions). The decision to use this track as a closer in this way seems unusual at first, but is something of a stroke of genius. Sitting at the opposite end of the energy spectrum to opener ‘Mountain High’ gives the impression of a really neat bookending to the album. ‘Stupid Much?’ is a reflective song, brooding and a little bit introspective, and this paints a very effective picture of the Skinner Brothers drawing a breath, looking back at what they’ve achieved, and keeping grounded. The softly-mellow guitar riff works beautifully, particularly when the slightly heavier lead introduces itself over the top, bringing a sense of yearning. On the second version of the track, you’re given the further element of spoken words delivered laconically, but without any loss of impact. The record ends, memorably with the line “I always f*** things up”
The Skinner Brothers will follow the album’s release with a huge headline tour in March. The tour will also see the band herald in a new wave of rising live artists, with a long list of special guests that includes JW Paris, The Gulps and Teef. Remaining tickets are available here.
MARCH – HEADLINE TOUR
4th – Preston, The Ferret
5th – Norwich, Waterfront
6th – Brighton, Green Door Store
8th – Exeter, Cavern Club
9th – Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
10th – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
12th – Nottingham, Bodega
13th – Newcastle, Think Tank?
14th – Glasgow, King Tut’s
15th – Manchester, Deaf Institute
17th – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
18th – Stoke, Sugarmill
20th – Tunbridge Wells, Forum
22nd – Bristol, Thekla
23rd – Leicester, Firebug
24th – Liverpool, Jimmy’s
26th – Bedford, Esquires
28th – Guildford, Boileroom
29th – Oxford, Bullingdon Arms
30th – London, O2 Academy Islington
2nd – Leeds, Temple Newsam Park (guests to The Music)
‘Soul Boy II’ tracklist:
- ‘Mountain High’
- ‘Put Me Down As A Maybe’
- ‘Away Days’ (acoustic)
- ‘1000 Reasons Why’
- ‘Told You So’
- ‘Culture Non-Stop’
- ‘Give It All To Me’
- ‘Stupid Much?’
- ‘Way Too Far’
- ‘Stupid Much?’ (featuring Teef)
FOLLOW THE SKINNER BROTHERS
Words The Songbird HQ