There’s a common misconception that Skindred are purely a live band. While there is no denying that you haven’t truly experienced Skindred until you have seen them live. It does hide the fact that they have one hell of a back catalogue. While their last album, Kill the Power, seemed to be an attempt to shoot for the stars and may have failed (although I personally quite liked it) their discography to that point had been near flawless. Joining those lofty standards is Volume and it’s unsurprisingly brilliant.
Packed with enough bounce to get your wheelchair bound granny jumping down the stairs, Volume is an encapsulation of everything that makes Skindred one of Britain’s finest bands. You want big old choruses, check out the title track. You want groove topped off with a hint of aggression, check out ‘Shut Ya Mouth’. And if you just want to go fucking mental to some brilliant music, well take your pick really. Skindred take elements of heavy metal, punk, reggae, R’n’B and pop and throw into the melting pot and create something is undeniably Skindred. You could try to copy it, but you would never succeed.
Benji is, of course, the focal point of the band and there is no denying he is the star man, but it would be a mistake to not realise just how tight these guys are at this stage of their career. The heavy metal crunch of ‘The Healing’ comes from the guitar of Mikey Demus while the bounce that nourishes this album is down to the near perfect rhythm section of Dan Pugsley and Arya Goggin. Benji may well be the ringmaster, and he puts on one hell of a performance, but if he was surrounded by clowns this wouldn’t work.
Skindred are the band that will sample Delia Smith and get away with it. They are the band that can follow-up ‘Sound the Siren’, an electronic heavy track, with ‘Saying it Now’, a big over the top number that sees Benji doing some of the best clean singing he has ever done. They are the band that consistently break the rules and get loved for it. They are also one of the best bands we have, whether that is live or on record and if you like good music, then you have no excuse for not checking this one out.