Album Review: Skindred – Smile


Newport quartet Skindred return with their eighth album, Smile. According to the band, this comes from something that frontman Benji Webbe has said about their shows: “When I look out into the crowd, whether it’s in a small room or a festival crowd, the one thing I notice above all else is the smiles.” And the title fits the album just right.

If my intro didn’t divert your attention toward the album, the next part hopefully will. Opening the album “Our Religion” wakes you with dark and heavy riffs and Webbe’s unique vocals. It will have one moving as the chorus comes along. “Gimme That Boom,” the first single released for the album and a fan-favorite since its release. The song still smacks one right in the face with the catchy reggae style with the nu-metal distorted guitars.

“L.O.V.E (Smile Please)” delivers without a metal sound accompanying the track—a strong song with ska vibes to give a different nuance to the album. “State of Union” is much more upbeat and serves some poppy elements. But they are underlying and give proper summer vibes when we hit the chorus with the funky sound No doubt my hands were clapping along.

“Mama” will have you moving, the sound of reggae blasting through the speakers, and while metal influence isn’t anywhere to be heard. This song delivers sweet lyrics, acknowledging Mama’s hard work. This one is for mothers!

“Unstoppable” stands out in the right way; the metal and rock sound back and empowering lyrics like “I’m unstoppable,” precisely what Skindred is on Smile. The taste of 90s nu-metal, the sound of ska, reggae, pop? What they haven’t tested out on this album. It’s nothing short of remarkable. And it has something for everyone on the album, which I enjoy, because “Our Religion” smacks you right in the face while songs like “Life That’s Free” and “State Of Union” serve a more pop and EDM sound. But “Life That’s Free” still has some metal elements in the song, which they nail right. I hope they get booked at every relevant festival next year, because this album marks a new era for the band.

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