Although they formed in 1994, it’s fair to say that Lifetime Skiver‘s recorded output hasn’t exactly been prolific. But with a re-jigged (and hopefully stable) line-up, the Darlington band finally release their new mini album, The Great Electric Skiver Show, on Monday 6th February.
With just one album in the previous twenty-two years, one could be forgiven for thinking that the band are either committed to making the best music possible: or, alternately, just really lazy. Happily, the former would seem to be the case. As front-man Mike Cass says, “We’ve never really done things quickly. It took us the best part of twenty years to record our first album. We’ve taken our time recording these songs as we wanted to make sure they sounded as good as possible. I reckon it’s definitely the best stuff we’ve done. They’re six good songs.”
Life gets harder as you get older but you have to live in hope
Lead track I Can’t Stop Breaking My Heart is a Northern Soul stomper that immediately grabs your attention from the off. An almost Mariachi intro riff leads into a massively retro sounding four-minute pop wonder. It has elements of The Jam, The Coral and, not surprisingly, Dexy’s Midnight Runners: “We’ve always liked a bit of Northern Soul and Motown and I love the first Dexy’s LP, Searching for the Young Soul Rebels. That’s one of my favourite albums, so I think I was trying to write something along those lines. Like everything we do though, our songs always end up different to the original idea. It’s ended up as a good pop song about a couple who fight but stick together.”
That kitchen sink philosophy spreads to the rest of the release. With a grit and a determination that seems to mirror the band’s longevity, it’s something that Mike sees as cementing this particular body of work together: “The songs definitely have something in common. Probably a will to keep going when you get kicked in the teeth. Life gets harder as you get older but you have to live in hope.”
You’re The Same, the min-album’s closer, brings together all of Lifetime Skiver’s diverse influences. Combining everything from the afore mentioned Dexy’s through to The Stone Roses and The Kinks, it pulls together strutting bass lines whilst also harking back to the brassy opening track of the album with a lovely repetitive Hammond organ melody as it fades. It’s hard to shake the feeling that the band have showered this release with a lot of love and care.
Any new release generally means some supporting shows (and this is certainly part of the band’s long-term plan), but it seems that now Lifetime Skiver finally have a newer, stable line-up, there’s a reluctance to rest on their creative laurel.: “We’ll do some gigs later in the year, but we’re putting together a new set of songs at the minute. The new line up’s shook things up and sparked us into a rare period of action. The new songs sound dead good, they’ve got more of a groove. There’s no point standing still, is there?”