Skinny Lister

Album Notes Exclusive

Tuesday 14th April 2015

London outfit Skinny Lister bring their unique rum-soaked blend of English folk and punk rock anarchy, with brand new album Down on Deptford Broadway, their second full length, out now on Xtra Mile Recordings. The album is available to download right here.

Down On Deptford Broadway is packed with smart songwriting, bringing together elements of folk with the attitude of punk and rock n roll bursting with sing-a-long choruses and infectious raucous energy. Talking about the new album, member Max said, “We’re trying to push forward the sound we had on the first album Forge & Flagon. We don’t want to be a static band, we want to move with whatever influences are going on around us all the time." 

Fred Perry Subculture are now pleased to present the exclusive preview of the track by track notes by frontman Daniel Heptinstall, as below.  


Raise A Wreck
We wrote this in the style of a traditional sea shanty for gang vocals. It echoed the style of the likes of ‘John Kanaka’ from our first album, and ‘South Australia’ which we’d been performing live for a couple of years. Lyrically – it’s basically a celebration of beauty - and the power of beauty, as well as a call to arms. Although it’s essentially a shanty, we decided to bring instruments to the party on this one. We put an incessant beat to it that gives a little nod to Adam Ant. Cheers Adam!

Trouble On Oxford Street
This is a true story of when I got myself into a bit of a scrape a few years ago on Oxford Street. I told Max the story and he suggested I put it in a song. It’s all there in the song. I ran into some punks, got a bit cheeky, ruffled one of their mo-hawks, and took a bit of a beating for it. I squarely blame the alcohol. Was not pretty at the time but at least I got a song out of it! We shot the video for this in same spot where the incident happened, culminating in me being stretchered into the 100 Club for a Skinny show. A happier ending on this occasion.     

Georges Glass
A song about British pub culture. An ode to the temple that is ‘the local.’ George is Max and Lorna’s dad. Often know as ‘Party George’. He’s been a big part of the band from the start. He often joins us on stage when possible for ‘Forty Pound Wedding’, a song that he wrote and appears on our first album ‘Forge & Flagon’. Here’s to Party George!

What Can I Say?
I wrote this at Lorna’s parents house, which overlooks nothing but fields. That year they were growing corn, which over the season I saw get sewn, grow and finally harvested. It’s like a time lapse film in song form. The seasonal changes marking the passing of time and the continued longing for someone who has left. It’s one of those tunes that seemed to write itself in an instant. Always nice when they come along.

Nice groove to this and has turned into one of our live favourites. ‘Cathy' is an ode to addiction and recklessness. A declaration of desire for someone or something that you know is bad for you, and you'd be wise to steer well clear of. The classic wrestle between head and heart. It was nice to get a little nod to Phil Spector into the intro of this.

Six Whiskies
‘Six Whiskies’ is the counterpart to ‘Seventeen Summers’ from our first album ‘Forge & Flagon’. It’s one of our drunken London waltzes. It’s essentially a love song about a town. The feeling of being thrown from a nightclub in the early daylight hours and wandering the streets was the starting point for this song. Having lived in London for many years it’s hard not to let it creep into your writing. London appears in a lot of the songs on this album, which is one of the reasons we gave the album such a London-centric title. 

This Is War
Another London flavoured song, and another live favourite! A bit of an observation of the many types of characters that are drawn to London searching for whatever they may be searching for (of which I was one). We’ve had this song described as sounding like both The Pogues and Dexys Midnight Runners, which isn’t a bad thing in my book.

Ten Thousand Voices
This is one of the first songs that we had written for the first album. I think influence-wise, we took a little something from Ten Pole Tudor’s ‘Swords of a Thousand Men’ on this one. It’s one of the few songs where me and Lorna go head to head on the vocals an octave apart. And that’s exactly how we recorded it in the studio – staring each other out!

Bonny Away
A bedroom demo of this appeared as a bonus track on a couple of versions of the first album, but we didn’t feel we’d done it justice. So we dusted it off and did a proper job of it on this album. This is one of the tracks where our producer Ted Hutt pushed me as a songwriter, by getting us to put a middle 8 in there to help take it somewhere else. I think this really added to the song and this version feels complete. Lorna does a grand job on the vocals, and the brilliant Roger Wilson added some beautiful fiddle. Nice one Rog!

Bold As Brass
This one’s a bit of a Skinny stomper. It has a definite Irish flavour, probably partly influenced by touring the US with both Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys. It’s another song about a scarlet lady, much like Cathy. The geographical imagery is all London again. ‘Hawley’ refers to the ‘Hawley Arms’ in Camden Town and ‘Cali Road’ is Calidonian Road up near Kings Cross.  And Deptford of course is never far away.

This City
Another London song and another track where Lorna and I sing the whole thing in unison an octave apart. Stylistically, this track’s a bit of a gear shift. There’s possibly a bit of James in this one and a hint of Waterboys.  Again, it was Ted who pushed us to write a middle 8 for this (I was still writing the lyrics in the studio) which turned out to be my favourite bit of the song!

The Dreich
Possibly my favourite track on the album. Simple with a great vocal from Lorna, and great fiddle playing from Roger Wilson. It was also the first track on which Max got to use his new ‘C’ Accordion. It’s a straight forward love song about surrendering yourselves to each other.  I only discovered the word Dreich recently when it was used in TV documentary about Ivor Cutler. It’s a Scottish word meaning dreary or bleak. I thought it was a great word and a nice image to be emerging from it and finding something beautiful.  

Skinny Lister will perform live at the following dates and venues

April 22nd – BIRMINGHAM – The Rainbow Venues -
April 23rd – GLASGOW – Nice ‘n’ Sleazy –
April 24th – EDINBURGH – Voodoo Rooms –
April 25th – NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE – Cluny 2 –
April 28th – MANCHESTER – The Deaf Institute –
April 29th – LEEDS – The Brudenell Social Club –
April 30th – SHEFFIELD – The Leadmill –
May 1st – NOTTINGHAM – The Bodega –
May 2nd – CAMBRIDGE – Cambridge Junction 2 –
May 5th – BRISTOL – Exchange Bristol –
May 6th – CARDIFF – Clwb Ifor Bach –
May 7th – LONDON – O2 Academy Islington –
May 8th – NORWICH – Waterfront Studio –
May 9th – LEICESTER – O2 Academy2 Leicester – 

Photo by Brian Rasic


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