The Skints are back with yet another new sound – the London-grown reggae four piece’s third album FM is a hell of a concept.

Laced intermittently with ‘FM’ titled tracks, the whole album has a pirate radio feel that lands it somewhere between Original Pirate Material  and the announcements you hear in Amity Cove, Thorpe Park. This is a novelty you might expect to wear thin and start to grate on your nerves quite quickly, but you’d be wrong. The more you play it, the more you anticipate, the better it gets.

On the face of things, The Skints have taken a step away from their ska beginnings, further embracing the dub sound they found in their second album Part & Parcel. FM seems to be far more comfortably ‘The Skints’ than anything yet: playful, chilled, summer vibes.

This album is like a snapshot study of London. Lyrically The Skints are still exploring the difficulties of living in the capital, smothering their words in a delightful dub-sugar-glaze. FM has a real onwards an upwards feeling throughout.

As ever they’ve made sterling use of Marica Richard’s staggering talent with a ludicrous number of instruments, with additional keys, flute, sax and melodica making it to the album. More than ever before, The Skints have spread the vocal responsibility far more evenly between summer Jamie Kyriakides, guitarist Josh Waters-Rudge and naturally, Richards as well.

The Skints have really toyed about with a lot of tracks, in songs like ‘Friends & Business’ with its strange, almost wild west section, this has really paid off. To say that The Skints have lost their ska side entirely would be a lie – there’s some seriously Specials sounding sections, and Josh’s rap verses (along with a handful of guest vocals) give a modern dab to a widely abandoned genre. FM is an enjoyable sensory overload. The heavy layering of both instrumental and vocal parts gives the album a honey-thick feel.

For a third time The Skints have put a 21st century twist on a generation-defining genre; FM is a whir of good vibes and thoughtful lyrics, in a summer time package.

Callum Cornwell


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