“Smile” by Skindred is a Happy Mix of Ragga-Metal
The Welsh ragga-metal band Skindred is back with their eighth album, “Smile,” which is a brilliant explosion of sound. Opening with the strong song “Our Religion,” the band quickly sets the tone for what’s to come: a festival-friendly anthem full of riffs and energy that has won them a loyal following in the British music scene.
Wide range of music
But “Smile” is more than just strong sounds and headbanging. Skindred surprises fans with a wide range of music that they didn’t expect. “LOVE (Smile Please)” is a great example of this. This sunny banger has a skanking beat, horns that sound like birds, and catchy words that make it a great summer song. It’s the kind of song you want to blast out at parties, from open-top cars, and even at the Notting Hill fair. Skindred’s ability to switch between very different musical styles is what makes them stand out and keeps their fans interested.
Skindred’s varied sound is driven by their frontman, Benji Webbe, who is a lively and unique person. Webbe’s style, which includes dreadlocks, leather, shades with spikes, pendants, and pink jumpsuits, shows how the band mixes styles. Webbe had a multicultural home and grew up in Newport, Wales. As a result, he was introduced to many different kinds of music, from reggae to rock and pop. He wanted Skindred to be a band that brought people together by breaking down genre borders and accepting a multicultural attitude.
Skindred tries out different styles
People often call Skindred “ragga metal,” but their music can’t be put into just one category. The band’s music ranges from punk to metal to reggae to pop-rock to hip-hop to techno to dancehall. This is clear throughout “Smile,” where Skindred tries out different styles without being afraid to keep their signature heavy sound.
The record shows how good a musician Skindred is, with songs like “Set Fazers” and “Unstoppable” that are sure to please their loyal fans. But the real surprises are the unexpected turns and changes, like on the song “Life That’s Free,” which combines the pop music of Nothing But Thieves with Webbe’s gruff delivery to make a unique mix that sounds like Shaggy fronting a drum’n’bass act.
“This Appointed Love” is another great song. It’s a strange mix of lovers rock and rock guitars, but it works. Skindred isn’t afraid to work with people they wouldn’t expect, like a children’s choir on the protest song “Black Stars,” which makes for a great contrast.
The band’s unity and musical skill are clear as co-founders Daniel Pugsley on bass, ZZ Top-bearded guitarist Mikey Demus, and powerful drummer Arya Goggin whip up a storm and move easily between different styles.
Skindred’s artistic skill and vocal versatility
Webbe’s charming personality and unique voice make it easy for him to switch from gruffly throwing political soundbites to singing sweetly lilting reggae songs. Skindred’s music isn’t just heavy metal; it’s a celebration of life and a record of their colorful, varied musical journey.
Even when things are hard, Webbe’s infectious joy of life stays the same. Even though he has sepsis and was attack on the street by someone who has been drinking, he keeps spreading good vibes and kindness. Even when it could be darker, Skindred’s music has a positive vibe that captures their unwavering energy.
“Smile” shows Skindred’s artistic skill and vocal versatility, regardless of whether it becomes the crossover record that brings them more fans. Skindred has something for everyone, like a musical Groucho Marx. This makes them a band to celebrate and love.