Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Streets review on JC Report


"I think I love you more than you like me" Mike Skinner muses on his fourth album, Everything is Borrowed—a sentiment that's certainly not true in our camp. Skinner (aka The Streets) might be described as UK garage, but his music has nothing to do with the genre's prototypical screeching guitars and backyard teenagers. The Streets' variation is a mixture of rap and electronica, layered with ironical wit—the culmination of which is characterized by pure, exuberant finesse.

Skinner's trademark sound combines indie beats with stories from his day-to-day life that are spoken/sung on top. These songs mostly deal with unfaithful girlfriends, pub nights gone wrong, bad takeaway food and disloyal mates—the familiar stuff we all have to tackle and can identify with. Everything is Borrowed marks a distinct departure from his typical formula, however. Beyond his typical subjects, Skinner also asks bigger questions regarding religion, life and death.

This change is not only lyrical. The LP was recorded with a live band and a female backing choir, rather than his usual computerized support—a new approach that distinguishes the album's more sophisticated sound. Despite this foray into musical maturity, Skinner still delivers his classic smile-worthy moments. "The Way Of The Dodo," for example, deals with serious issues but Skinner adds a fast and joyful beat under his comical chorus, while the first single and title track (see above) sums up his humorous attitude: "Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it."

Everything is Borrowed is now available. For more information on the band, see www.myspace.com/thestreets.

—David Hellqvist

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