Skankt - Thieves Operate In This Area

Helen Newbery 05/05/2008

Rating: 2/5

Remember the second summer of ska? The Dead 60s, The Ordinary Boys, and, um, those are all I can think of off the top of my head? Well, made in 2006, Skankt's 'Thieves Operate In This Area' seems to be riding on those coat-tails. It's unclear whether they're re-releasing it now, or whether it's been doing the rounds since then, but, in reality, it owes such a debt to the 2Tone era that this seems barely relevant.

Singer Matt has a good voice, and there lots of brass and jazzy influences. They are not a band to wear their influences lightly, however, with their style strongly reminiscent of The Specials, The Selecter and any number of similar bands. They do have a lot of energy, and the album zips along undemandingly enough, but by half-way through it's all starting to sound really samey. They also don't seem to have very much to say, and are let down by some really banal lyrics. These seem to be aiming for some kind of political commentary, but it all falls a bit flat: “Up on the hillside there's nowhere to hide…the political divide” and “Watch your back you're under attack” as there's just no feeling of menace or conviction. Things do pick up on the very last track, which finishes on an interesting riff, repeated with increasing speed until it crashes out at the end. However, this final flourish just isn't enough to dispel the feeling that the rest of the album is anything other than ordinary.