The Skids proved that they can retain their roots and still be a valid entity several decades on from those halcyon highs. Picking up with strong elements of Scared to Dance and in particular Days in Europa – the band leader Richard Jobson and his cast of Caledonian core characters go into battle with the 2023 offering, Destination Dusseldorf. The new album is worthy of joining its younger sonic brethren as the nine tracks fire out of the trenches and blow away their punk peers with an array of tunes that are strong in both lyrical and musical content. The lads head out of the valley of yesteryear nostalgia and storm into a landscape of the here and now. So many contemporaries of The Skids have one formula – and the fast and furious can prove to be a little lethargic without an edge of diversity. Lead man Jobbers and his jobbers have spread their wings on this recording and in no way are we talking about an homage to the past as there is appeal for those die-hards of the Dunfermline sound but there is also a canvas here which can bring in aural aficionados from further afield.
No song aims at the minimalist and even when things slow down on – The Things we’ve Seen – there is still plenty going on as the band are industrious in what is a team effort. The also not so pumped-up endeavour of – The Greatest Prize – is a smooth more mid-tempo entity that recalls those harmonies that became synonymous with a host of hits in the late 70’s and early 80’s. There is no doubt that without R.J. this gung-ho group would not have the same presence and that becomes extremely evident on the Stuart Adamson influenced soon to be atomic anthems such as: Open Your Eyes, Tidal Wave, Don’t Stop, How to be Free and
Wings of Desire. The colossal chords can head away from the routes of rebellion heading for a more rockist route but then it is back to the alternative autobahn
However, it is the rambunctious rhythm of the title track and Here we go Again (a souped-up sibling to Animation) which stand out loud and proud as the lead pieces with the most potency and prowess in a pack of pomp. One can imagine this pair of pop powerhouses uniting band and audience in some sweaty club as the sound echoes from wall to wall and the words bounce from ceiling to the dancefloor. That is what makes The Skids tick and my previous live experiences with them were all the better for being in a crammed club where the band and its followers unite in a phenomenal frenzy. As regards this long player – towering tunes, colossal choruses, mellifluous momentum and vibrant vocabulary are the key to this Hope and Glory.
As we stand our main man proves that he is still a clever Dick and we sample the dividends of this wisdom. As some bands are best left in the 70’s it is pleasing that The Skids still have their foot to the pedal of a Rolls Royce of regal rebellion.