Almost a decade after the release of Original Pirate Material Mike Skinner has decided to call time on The Streets with Computers and Blues. Skinner’s debut was something of a revelation, an exciting blend of hip-hip, garage and dance music with poetic social commentary on faceless urban British life.
The intervening years were less productive. A string of lackluster releases rising in part from an inability to adapt to his new lifestyle which fame brought him and removed his inspiration, the ordinary everyday comings-and-goings of life from ‘the streets’ themselves.
Computers and Blues sounds as though he took a step back, turned his back on this unfamiliar world which was on the brink of making the music almost a parody of itself. Instead choosing to surround himself with mates and more familiar and inspirational environs to record an album he wanted to.
Skinner seems much more relaxed and assured particularly in his lyrical delivery, something missing from the last two records in particular. The subject matter is at times a bit lightweight, devoid of substantive commentary but a blend of garage and hip-hop beats and some old school ravey undertones like ‘Trust Me’ mixed with rockier moments like ‘Going Through Hell’, do well to pave over such cracks.
It’s not Original Pirate Material but ‘Going Through Hell’, ‘Puzzled by People’, ‘Trust Me’ and ‘Those That Don’t Know’ is some of the best material he’s produced. Computers and Blues is the most enjoyable listen since OPM, a great way to sign off.
You’ve been listening to The Streets.