(The Guardian)-The New York this indie-punk band would like to have been part of has disappeared quickly over the past couple of decades: think Bowery debauchery and Lower East Side sleaze, channelled by five rakish guys in ripped jeans and dirty baseball caps. Even if they hadn’t been sleeping in a tour van these last several weeks, Skaters would probably still resemble pizza delivery boys living out of their cars.
The fact that one of the band members is a British expat – guitarist Joshua Hubbard previously played in the Paddingtons and Dirty Pretty Things – hardly marks them out as the real deal, but they convey downtown Manhattan scuzz like they mean it, especially in the grubbily louche tones of singer Michael Ian Cummings.
But from the group huddle and wail of feedback at the start to their curiously selected cover of Supergrass’s Caught by the Fuzz at encore, there’s a wearyingly uninspired sense of recent indie-rock history repeating about Skaters’ songs. The Strokes loom large in their noisy, new-wavey racket. I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How) could easily have come off of the Vaccines’ last album, save for the bit when it momentarily lifts Peter Hook’s bass line from Age of Consent.
Reminiscent of the Clash played by Death in Vegas, with its electronic pulse and vaguely political lyric “Americans, go get your guns,” the dubby Armed is much more auspicious. But it’s a temporary diversion from the heard-it-all-before norm. “I guess I’ll never change your mind,” sneers Cummings in the chorus to Skaters’ best song, as he hangs off the mic stand looking a perfect picture of affected boredom. “Never” is putting it strongly, but they’ve definitely got their work cut out.
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