As the name of Skaters’ debut might suggest, their New York pedigree is a central theme throughout the album. No single song outstays its welcome, with every track clocking in under four minutes, several being only little over two. Most of the tracks are totally danceable, and there’s a catchy lyric or guitar line at every turn.
Of their four previously released singles, three make it onto the album. The omission of Armed comes at slight detriment to the album, where it could certainly have replaced one of the slightly directionless new tracks, such as Fear Of The Knife or Nice Hat. Most of the new material, however, is giddily enjoyable. Band Breaker, for instance, lays down a blissed out calypso groove that takes the band’s sound in a completely new direction, while Symptomatic - recognisable as a highlight of their live shows - sounds crisper and tighter on record.
My main gripe with the album is the constant insertion of long spoken word samples that in places distract from the songs themselves. Try the beginning of To Be Young In NYC, which feels uncomfortably like eavesdropping on a rich girl’s phonecall. This is the kind of album to put on when you want a good dance, and these interludes create awkward and unnecessary breaks in its flow.
Manhattan isn’t a great album, but it’s definitely very good. Miss Teen Massachusetts stands out as the best track, though others are close on its tail. I’ll admit that this debut isn’t necessarily anything that hasn’t been done before, but if you like indie-rock with plenty of guitar fuzz, then (as it says on Skaters’ trademark snapbacks), no problem.