Skindred – “Big Tings” (Napalm Records)
There’s something about the Newport helicopter that we you see it live, you instantly know that Skindred are in da house, and it’s beaming smiles all around! Whether its the big personality of front man Benji Webbe, his addictive raps or their incredible ragga rock beats, Skindred having been making their presence felt across venues since the late 90s – to beaming smiles all around!! Already making his mark in Dub War, Skindred was Webbe’s successor and brought together the punk rock of The Clash and fused it with the ragga core of Bad Brains, an incredible fusion that would propel Skindred into the mainstream, especially given their amazing live shows. “Big Tings” is the band’s 7th release and certainly is a polished affair, right from the sound to the studio slick performances, which, added up could take their label into the global mainstream. That’s pretty evident from ‘Machine’ (the first single off the album), a searing piece of motor rock featuring Reef’s Gary Stringer on throat raw vocals and none other than Phil Campbell on guitars that was used by AC/DC’s Brian Johnson for his TV show “Cars That Rock”! If that wasn’t enough, then ‘All This Time’ with its big ass bass, thumping drums and Webbe even upping his own volume is a prime piece of red blooded Brit rock while closer ‘Saying It Now’ is the complete opposite: an acoustic rock ballad with gentle orchestrals. Of course, for the long time fan then ‘Tell Me’, a quiet but passionate track with subtle electro beats belying its powerful and stirring chorus might suffice, although its ‘Loud and Clear’ that really brings in the ragga big style, its heavy dub rhythm hitting home more crucially than Anthony Joshua while the fast, spinning beats on ‘Alive’ and its sheer uplifting feel good factor is certainly so energised it fits the song title perfectly! With something for everyone, Welsh ragga rock / metal pioneers Skindred deliver yet another snaring release, and are certainly clear that ‘big tings’ is stamped all over it.