They played more UK festivals than any other band in 2011 and following the release of the stunning début album from Skinny Lister they deserve to be a household name by the end of the current festival season.
Skinny Lister’s Forge and Flagon is the latest offering from Rob da Banks’ Sunday Best Recordings and I can say it’s up with one of my favourite albums of the year.
If The Gaff Don’t Let Us Down, the barn-storming-foot-stomper is the perfect album opener and a song that the Skinny Sisters (the knicker flashing dance troupe who join Skinny Lister on stage) would be darn right offended if you didn’t dance along to – expect to feel their wrath if you daren’t move. Despite the fact it includes the line ”Home again for Christmas” it will get as many feet tapping in the summer as it will in the middle of December.
John Kanaka, a sea shanty with the the sing-a-long of “We’ll work tomorrow but not today” follows and continues the foot-stomping, before forthcoming single, Rollin Over, a quintessentially English folk song that takes us on a journey through the English countryside and valleys.
Prepare to sing like a lusty fisherman the minute you hear Trawlerman, before heading home to the one you love- as is the underlying thrust behind Peregrine Fly, two minutes and fourteen seconds of music so beautiful you just might fly higher than the average seagull before a dive-bombing raid on some unlucky tourist’s chips.
Seventeen Summers continues the vibe, making the whole journey seem joyously idyllic, before Wild As The Wind Blows acts as a prelude to Forty Pound Wedding- think of the nicer answer to the likes of Don’t Tell The Bride, as advertised in the pages of Country Life. Kite Song chills things a little, a folksy cross between two Beatles classics, namely For No One and Blackbird, no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination.
Time now to get your polka face on for Polkas ( Jenny Lind Girl In A Blue Dress), a salute to the lovely lookalike of the late Swedish opera singer, and proof if any were needed you don’t have to be Agnetha from Abba to meet the ‘ musical Swedish blonde’ criteria. But I digress. On now then to Plough & Orion, the musical answer to taking your loved one’s hand and gazing at the stars, having found a suitably empty field and full bottle of cider to complete a perfect evening before drifting off into dreamland (maybe of Jenny Lind, or Agnetha from Abba after all, we won’t tell).
Then when you awake after too many ciders with a chill against your bones you see Colours, and all feels right with the world. Must’ve been a great night, you tell yourself- all of this being the perfect soundtrack.
Forge and Flagon is released on 11th June and is available from the Sunday Best website
Words by Jodie Copeland and Chris Morley
More info on Forge and Flagon:
Forge & Flagon features legendary folk players including award winning Northumbrian Piper Kathryn Tickell and fiddle player extraordinaire Roger Wilson.
Skinny Lister are not your average, modern day, gentrified English folk group. Fronted by Dan Heptinstall and Lorna Thomas; a vocalist with a lusty cackle and flirtatious presence, the London based five-piece hail from across England. Borrowing the nickname from the Lister family, pioneers in the use of anesthetic, the band have grown naturally and organically over the past two years. Yorkshire born songwriter Heptinstall, Lorna’s older brother Max, and long-time shanty singer Sam ‘Mule’ Brace, met some time ago at a folk club in London’s Greenwich area. The arrival of Tyneside bassist Dan Gray and the naturally exuberant Lorna lifted them into another realm.
Now, captured on their debut album Forge & Flagon, the band’s distinctive qualities make their mark. Titled after a homemade pub ran by Lorna and Max’s family friends, Forge & Flagon marks Skinny Lister as an outfit who are decidedly more than the sum of their parts. Galvanised by months of road and more than 30 festival appearances in 2011(earning them the PRS Accolade of Busiest Band of the year) they transform traditional and contemporary influence into a singular sound.
In an era when singing a song in a pub can get you thrown out for rowdiness, Skinny Lister – are joyous good times band that lift the spirit and bring cheer to your heart – not afraid to match sensitivity with a high kicking free for all attitude. It’s time to open the floodgates and get the party started.