If you are not aware of the music from Skinny Knowledge, prepare to get an education. If you are looking for a group of musicians who love to make a noise, then this is the band for you. Together, Andy L Smooth (lead vocals/guitarist), Benjamin Parker (guitar), Fenge Davies (bass), and Charlie Kenny (drums) are ready to unleash their debut album Don’t Turn Out The Lights.
Smooth has created a collection of songs that mean a lot to him. He says, “I love music that truly makes you feel something. Music that’s REAL and inspires you and others to move mountains. Songs that leave you with a mark and truly change your life, that’s the benchmark. Artists with a message. Artists with something to say, this is ground zero for me as a creative. It’s what has got me through incredibly dark times, none more so than 2020”. Describing the album, he explains, “In a world full of tainted phone screens and technology, the songs presented on Don’t Turn Out The Lights believe there’s a place inside of all of us that’s searching for some form of realism. It is honest rock n’ roll in every essence. Thundering drums, roaring guitars, and a voice with something to say”.
As soon as you press play on Don’t Turn Out The Lights, there is no denying this band’s sound. Its title track opens up with a slow build-up on guitars. Soon, Smooth joins in with vocals to ensure they have the listeners attention. It oozes an anthemic and motivational mood that will speak to many. It is a song described as “no matter what life throws at you, you need to be 1000x stronger, pick yourself up, and fight through it”. As much as the guitars stand out, it is the drumming that steals this show. They bring the thunder and deliver a beat where it’s impossible to stay still while listening to it. It is such a great opening track that manages to get even better with each listen. Following on comes “Imagination” and “Alive”, which continue to deliver their infectious rock energy.
Watch the video for “Imagination” below
“King of Nothing” and “Keep Me Out Of It” continue to show that they mean business. They know what their sound is and deliver it with conviction. Each member brings their best to ensure this well-oiled machine creates an irresistible roar. Things change slightly with the arrival of “Not Coming Down”. Here is a song influenced by the Royal Republic and designed to have a good time. It’s clear from the opening lines “It’s getting late out / I’m feeling bored / I can’t sit still, I need a thrill / I’m chasing dance floors to / Flow music through me / I’m feeling groovy / All night long (all night)”. Skinny Knowledge wants you to let loose and enjoy yourself with this one.
“Getaway” sees the return of their relentless rock energy that commonly flows throughout the album. Towards the end of the track, the guys let loose with a furious sound, equalled by Smooths vocals. “Sayonara” begins with a much slower groove compared to those before. The softer tone let’s Smooth’s words stand out. He says, “The lyrics actually came a while after and is probably the only mildly-political song on the album. I was influenced by the Black Lives Matter movement. So I started writing about being in a minority, but worse; being treated like a peasant. The heartbreak, the pain, and the excruciating desire to be heard, and how we need to stand up and fight against the sheer act of selfishness, and political terrorism”. As the song progresses, it subtly builds up before exploding as it comes to a close.
Don’t Turn Out The Lights is best described as a hurricane of an album. Its relentless energy sounds wild but delivered with purpose. However, the release also has a calm moment, the eye of the storm. “Wheels Of Love” slows things right down as the band showcase their softer side. Smooth says this is the most personal track which took his ages to write. He says it is about “plucking up the courage to ask someone to marry you”.
Skinny Knowledge are not messing around ‘Don’t Turn Out The Lights’
As well as offering a ballad, this song shows Skinny Knowledge have a lot more to offer than rocking out. It also showcases yet again the versatility of Smooth’s songwriting, especially lyrically. He is not afraid to be honest with his words, as shown with the lines “Holding out on this feeling, I’m scared and overwhelmed / I’m reaching out, this is my vow to say I do, I love you”. He also allows the listener to appreciate his vocal range. Throughout the album, he has shown he can unleash some furious power with his voice, but this time, it is controlled and delivers each word with so much emotion. It comes together to create yet another exceptional moment by the guys.
The band return with their rock energy for “This Time” and “Make a Change”. It is the foundations of this release. However, they are not afraid to mix things up. Another example of this is “Take The Blame”. Here is a slice of punk rock, which has an old school Green Day tone. It makes you want to jump around and get lost in its sound. Following up is yet another sidestep with an interlude that shows off their heavy metal side.
Closing this release comes “Stand Alone”, a dark horse of a track. At first, it may not stand out as much as the others. However, with each additional playthrough, it will slowly start to grab your attention. Now it has become one of the best songs on offer by the guys. It slowly builds up through the first verse, up the chorus lines “All on my own / I’m better off a stand-alone” it bursts into life. This line is given extra power with its delivery as it progresses. As a result, it feels anthemic and empowering as it comes to a close. Such a great way to end one of the best rock albums you will hear this year.