New York is brimming with immigrants who were lured there by its magical status to the point where you have to wonder how many born-and-bred New Yorkers make up the numbers. The debut album from Skaters embodies the starry-eyed romanticism of adoring outsiders applied to the bustling metropolis.
Those detractors of New York City cops, The Strokes, are an obvious comparison here. Although Skaters choose the “young and beautiful” of Manhattan as their targets as opposed to dumb cops, there’s a real similarity to The Strokes’ scrappy but catchy sound. Like latter-day (i.e. not very good) Strokes, the band shows a willingness to break out of a well-trodden indie rock sound and make a real mess with the reggae-ska shuffle of ‘Band Breaker’ and a tiresome funk dirge called ‘Fear Of The Knife’. There are also numerous winks and nods to British acts like Arctic Monkeys, Palma Violets and The Libertines, particularly on ‘Nice Hat’ and ‘I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How)’.
As you can guess from the number of other bands referenced in this review, there’s nothing particularly new going on here. Certainly, the expression of unequivocal love for New York has been done to death.
It’s okay to be overly familiar, but it shouldn’t be this forgettable.
Manhattan is out now on Warner.