Skaters – ‘Manhattan’

Scuzzed-out indie that giddily justifies its debt to NY forefathers

Skaters couldn’t make their allegiance to the 2003 school of New York cool plainer if they mooched about with Strokes badges pinned to their leathers. Big Apple-based, but with Joshua Hubbard – former guitarist of mid-’00s indie types The Paddingtons – among their number, it will probably come as no surprise to anyone that moments on debut album ‘Manhattan’ could pass for long-lost outtakes from ‘Room On Fire’. Luckily, at least six tracks conform to a brilliantly giddy, dancefloor-friendly rock’n’roll template that totally justifies the occasional look back.

Early single ‘Schemers’ is the highlight, a bounce of fuzzed-out guitars and relentless rhythmic chug that sees frontman Michael Ian Cummings bawling, “//We’ve all got problems/And I just can’t take it no more!//” ‘Symptomatic’ provides a lighter, ’60s-influenced touch, while ‘Miss Teen Massachusetts’ recalls The Walkmen with its growling angst and gritty crescendos. There are a couple of duff tracks here, in the shape of ‘Fear Of The Knife’ and the horrible cod-reggae of ‘Bandbreaker’. More broadly, Skaters’ whole shtick can feel about as current as that Hot Hot Heat T-shirt lurking in your bottom drawer. But you keep it because it feels so good when you pull it on, so where’s the problem?

Lisa Wright