Skinny Lister marks their latest burgeoning contribution with a revivalist tone and head turning folk-rock energy most synonymous with the London six piece. This time, their third studio album delves deeper into a free energetic feature that fractures with analogue liberty, respective enamour and thoughtful melodic variety. It’s a harder deviation from their previous acoustic treatments and the rustic vibe of their debut full length, promising spanding appearances concerning punk listings, and spiky rockisms. The Devil, The Heart & The Fight thumps along with a blistering robustness with rich textures both relentlessly patriotic and heartwarmingly reliable.
Checking in with an uninvited yet well-received projection, the record spits out a rolling quick tempo wave inside the opening track – Wanted. Weaving in and out of folk pressings and congenial vocal wrappings. Healthy doses of drum fumbles find grilling and raucous guitar hammerings as they encompass the grimy lead vocal cries and the masculine choral extensions of a pub sing-along climate. Similarities sit very tight with the 70s and 80s rock and pop methods more notably associated with bands like The Clash, Riot Squad or The Smirks – yet Skinny Lister manages to sound completely relevant and highly up-to-date. Georgie Lad keeps the momentum speeding with a stomp-worthy heavy rock ovation, filling with acoustic electric goodness and humble vocal furnishings – whereas the next track surges in and out of a Clash meets Ramones tip with the large shanty-rock catch Tragedy In A Minor. Plentiful measurements of thick snare blows and chest pounding bass treads enjoy the company of a light concertina residence as Dan Heptinstall’s patriotic vocals charm for its short duration. All of the tracks are slightly shorter than their previous album, perhaps utilising the creative power of fast rock and punk formats.
It’s not all quick bursts of energy, though, as songs like Devil In Me incorporate a soft and slow crooning with vocalist Lorna Thomas providing the country-folk sway with calming properties. Demanding ruptures later ensue with amped up battle anthem as grouped vocals spike throughout Beat It From The Chest. Lorna appears again with the euro-western allure that is inside the track Grace, before the hardest track and album closer Carry – grips an electric guitar treatment both distorted and ripe. The choir-like inclusions throughout the album make it most special and add more flavour to a well-balanced and rustic timestamp that makes up the band’s budding folk-rock back-catalogue. However, the record’s crown jewel is perhaps better recognised in the track Reunion. It’s a retentive musical visit to longing homesickness emotions and triumphant eagerness – circulating around compelling lyrics and a dear songwriting impulse. Beautiful chord progressions meet with sparkling vocal harmonies that lead into an eventual crescendo of British-folk muscularity.
Demuring slightly from their stripped down and raw sound that made up their previous two albums, The Devil, The Heart & The Fight is Skinny Lister’s most provocative and vigorous work yet. The band have clearly worked hard in order to reanimate the proud vitality and musical essence of their heritage, doing so with a contemporary vision and rhythmic concentration. With this, Skinny Lister continues to prove that they’re a band capable of changing their style and having enough confidence in their marauding musical direction.