Warner Brothers, 2014

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Skaters is not so much a punk rock band in music as they are in attitude. For sure, there is a lot of punk in the band’s songs; their material quick, catchy, and lively with tight guitars and a whole lot of passion. But the group’s nonchalant audacity on its debut, named in honor of their hometown, Manhattan, is what makes its members (singer Michael Ian Cummings, drummer Noah Rubin, and guitarist Joshua Hubbard) real rebels. The trio considered this album a totally empty canvas and decided to fill it with every idea – however absurd or great – that came into their heads. As a result, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Manhattan has no genre; it is a patchwork of so many different musical ideas that it is hard to classify.

It’s one thing for the band to have the gall to just go berserk and messy with different music styles, but Skaters actually makes an absolutely outstanding album out of this. The diversity of the disc amazing, but what is really awesome is that the band makes totally adorable power pop numbers out of virtually any musical muse. Skaters achieves a lot in the fast and compact punk skeleton of Manhattan, which lasts all of 34 minutes with a total of 11 songs. But don’t let the meager track lengths of two and three minutes fool you.

In the marvelous eclecticism of Manhattan, there aren’t that many true “punk” moments. “Nice Hat” is one of the songs where Skaters comes closest to sounding punk, but in a nettlesome Pixies or Nirvana way. “Schemers” is another sort of punk moment, but the playful Ramones type. On the other end of the spectrum, the trio goes totally and shamelessly reggae on “Band Breaker” and has a strange mix of New Wave with a Caribbean flair on “Fear Of The Knife.” On “Deadbolt,” the group sounds like some ‘80s goth rock outfit, and like some ‘80s surrealist act on “I Wanna Dance.” But they play the part of a lovely guitar-based indie rock outfit with a nostalgic twist on “To Be Young,” “Symptomatic,” and “One Of Us.” But on “Miss Teen Massachusetts” and “This Much I Care,” they personify a darker glam rock act.

Despite putting on the many faces, Manhattan does not sound even a bit uneven, although it should. The songs effortlessly flow from one to another, as if they were meant to be with each other. Manhattan is one big happy party where unpredictability is the norm, and the only thing predictable is the fun.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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