The story of Skint & Demoralised is too long and complex to go into here, but suffice to say it was quite a surprise to see a new release from Skint & Demoralised, let alone the bonus inclusion of the long shelved debut. Made up of poet Matt Abbott and producer MiNI dOG, Skint & Demoraliseds songs revolve around teenage pursuits like getting high, getting the girl and getting pissed as well tackling social issues like unemployment and alcoholism.
Abbotts lyrical finesse and singing style (talking) bring the obvious comparisons with The Streets Mike Skinner, albeit with a Wakefield accent, though musically its more Northern Soul than -urban.Debut -Love and Other Catastrophes was recorded with record company money and though there are some good songs here, -Red Lipstick & -The Thrill of Thirty Seconds in particular, it suffers from over egged production, its far too polished for an album written from the downtrodden heart of a disillusioned teenage poet. This Sporting Life however is a different story. Recorded in Abbotts home studio its not lo-fi but MiNI dOGs lean production suits the songs perfectly and the Northern Soul gives way to a more indie guitar sound. Of the ten tracks on -This Sporting Life my favourite by far is recent single -The Lonely Hearts of England a rallying cry for single men that reminds me of The Pogues -Sick Bed of Cuchulainn. There are plenty of other treats here too, -Voluntary Confinement is a dark, cautionary tale of alcohol addiction as he sings of the aftermath of another night on the lash.while -Hogmanay Heroes is a blistering and shambolic New Years Eve anthem is going to get those feet tapping whether you want to or not. The album ends on a down with another song about alcoholism (something of a theme here), the emotive and aggressive -Low Life which sees Abbott about the spiralling descent into despair of using alcohol to get through the day. Great stuff. (added: 2011-09-05 15:24:19 )