Skindred - Kill the Power (Cooking Vinyl)

Red hot Reggae Reggae sauce, or a disappointing splash of corner shop tomato ketchup?
Release Date: 
3 Mar 2014 - 11:30pm

A lot has already been said of this album. Totally aside from Skindred's award-winning live performances, their recorded efforts have been nothing short of rather spectacular. They've always managed to breathe life into an otherwise somewhat stagnant scene, and have picked up the hot potato of genre crossing, looked it square in the jacket, buttered it, and eaten it in one gulp. So let's go through this latest album and see if it stands up.

Good tunes? 

Check. This is the one main thing that can be said for this album. The masters of writing incredibly catchy, kind-of-pop-influenced hard rock seem to have just sat down and thought "Shall we just be fucking brilliant again? Yeah? Wicked". Opening and well-established track Kill the Power is a definite stand-out, but the entire album is more stuffed with good tracks than a high-end railway manufactory.

Mental innovation?

Check. Kind of.

The thing about this album is, that it's Skindred branching out. The electronic elements that were previously only marginally dabbled with have taken a definite and very noticeable jump forward. Which is fine, and it's pretty cool to see Skindred branching out. But the only thing is, it's already been done. There are tonnes of bands that have written similar songs, with similar instrumentation. Take away Benji Webbe's totally signature vocals and a few tracks on this album could really have been written by a number of fairly small-time two-a-penny bands.

On-point social commentary?

Err. Sure. I mean, a decent chunk of the album is given over to Benji's political views, whether that be about London (Worlds On Fire) or multiculturalism (The Kids are Right Now) and what isn't is the traditional half-decipherable blast of pure Skindred craziness, it just seems like the time for heavily political music has been and gone. 

Thing is, this is not a bad album. At all. It's just that everything that made Skindred, well, Skindred, appears to have been put on the back foot a little, in place of something that will appeal to as many people as possible. I'm not even saying that's necessarily a bad thing, it just seems a bit like Skindred are now a band who take their career entirely seriously, and are trying to take over the world.

I'd be happy for them to take over, just as long as they backtracked and kept doing it as ridiculously as possible.