Review: Clanging and clashing London indie punk outfit Sauna Youth realise a trilogy of albums following Dreamlands (2012) and Distractions from 2016. Death, it's said, was written before the band even knew what they were going to record in the studios they had booked. The result? A lively 11 tracks of unrushed spontaneity, with the semi-ironic stanza in "Problems" a discernible highlight amongst the album's general mele of guitars and surf rock attitudes that can be heard in others likes "Veiled Critique" and "Laura". But perhaps the album's curveball is the one ambient, spoken word piece "Swerve" whose poetic delivery conjures up mental imagery of Trainspotting-like themes. Thankfully, though, Death chooses life.
Review: Back in 1979, Scottish group Skids released their seminal debut 'Scared To Dance', an equally abrasive but more intellectual continuation of punk, but also one of the albums that helped establish the UK's post-punk sound. Having not released a record in nearly 37 years, 'Burning Cities' marks their long-overdue return. Both the band and the album benefit greatly from Killing Joke bassist Youth's punchy production, which aids the group as they simultaneously explore contemporary rock and reprise some of their early-eighties sound. 'Burning Cities' is the comeback album that has propelled Skids right back into relevance, in a time when their high-energy anti-establishment songwriting will resonate more than ever.
Review: Given that they're renowned for the blistering, noisy nature of their no-nonsense records, it's a little bit of a surprise to see Scottish punk stalwarts The Skids serving up an acoustic - or at least semi-acoustic - album. For those used to hearing their snarling punk anthems, "Peaceful Times" makes for intriguing and at times arresting listening. Previously raucous classics such as "Fields" and "Animation" are re-cast as jaunty and jangling sing-alongs in the traditional Scottish style, while "Desert Dust" sounds like the sort of campfire sing-along that would be belted out by soldiers on the eve of battle. The same could be said of "A World On Fire", which now sounds like a country and rockabilly-influenced anthem.