If there was a book or formula on how to pen a successful and catchy song, then it would seem that SKATERS have read that book and used that formula with the resulting effort being their recent offering I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How). A lyrically repetitive bridge leading into an equally repetitive chorus ensure you are never left in doubt as to what the title of the song may be, as the trio of Indie New Yorkers belt out that they want to dance but … well … they don’t know how.
As repetitive as it may be, SKATERS waste absolutely no time in jumping straight into the lively and fully charged chorus following a brief introduction sounding like a synthed-up The Coral’s Dreaming Of You; a comparison that should in no way be considered an insult. It’s clear throughout the song that they have clearly been inspired by multiple bands of Indie past and can at times seem ike a forceful composition of all of them at once. The two verses of the song provide a sharp contrast to the chorus, producing a calm before the storm; just enough time to catch your breath before carelessly dancing your behinds off to the riff-heavy chorus.
However with the song falling short of the three-minute mark, in-keeping with it’s punk ethos, it made this particularly listener wanting just that little bit more by the time it had finished. Being of a short length, it never really feels like the song has a chance to build up to a satisfying climax before it ends. Even something as simple as a guitar solo would have added just that little something extra before diving headfirst into the final chorus. With former The Paddingtons and Dirty Pretty Things guitarist Josh Hubbard in the band I was waiting for something to give that final chorus an added ‘oomph.’
SKATERS’ other offering, entitled Armed is definitely a much more satisfying tune. Whilst it still features the repetitive chorus (if you can call repeating one word over and over again a chorus), as you listen to the song, it actually feels like it’s going somewhere and proves just how much a simple instrumental break can add to the overall impact of the song. Though it’s highly unlikely to get you dancing around like the previous song and features fewer lyrics than the aforementioned I Wanna Dance despite being of a longer time, the mellow sounds of Armed definitely left more of a lasting impression. The instrumentals between choruses and verses are finely polished pieces but changing just enough each time one kicks in to make you feel like the song is building again instead of remaining on a constant level and abruptly ending.
But while this may be a good starting point for the band, they need to come into their own and try and find their own sound that distinguishes them from other Indie bands that could eventually end up becoming their rivals in a highly competitive market. Bands like Black Lips, FIDLAR, Cheatahs are currently all riding on the same train as SKATERS as they try to tap into America’s disenchanted youth. With so many similar bands SKATERS will have to define themselves quickly or be lost in the mire. Will it bring a change of US politics? No. Will it re-write musical history? No. Will it be fun? Of course.
By Adam Fox