When I was a wee lass I noticed the odd ability for a British music artist to sing with what would be considered, a “normal” accent, or maybe an American accent, but during a given interview the sound of their banter was so, well, British.
Not so The Streets. They never lose the sound of Mike Skinner’s heavy brogue, in part to the more spoken word style of their hip hop-meets-garage dance music and the cult of their streetwise personality. They captivated the droning MTV audience with a completely different take on thoughts with a rhythm with “Let’s Push Things Forward” single. All these elements brought a quick line to recognition the second the The Streets would hit a turntable, radio airwave or video channel.
The release of All Got Our Runnings paves a new path again as the first major recording artists to make an album available exclusively through online retailers and a pay-to-download format. The introduction to the 8 track CD, “Streets Score”, is a champagne induced, slow groove 2-Step instrumental, complete with violin keyboard strings that lace intricately around a bubbling soundscape.
The stories continue as Skinner narrates their world of pub conflicts, paying too much money for trainers when rent is due, and ways to sneak a bottle of brandy around the bouncers in the Ministry of Sound to save from dolling cash at the bar because as we all know, “Having no money forces one to make the right choices each day/If you can’t pay you can’t play.”
It’s obvious that Skinner is quite fond of the “oui, oui oui” and “geezer” references in his musical tirades, but it works with an endearing slant of humor, as opposed to the repetitive “know what I’m sayin’” hip-hop conversations. The chorus in “All Got Our Runnins” is so addictive, using a simple 2-Step beat and keyboard samples, making one surrender to the break beat moves.
Dizzee Rascal from the Roll Deep crew dives into the remix of “Let’s Push Things Forward” as his intense MC skills contribute to one of the more serious angles to the CD, then the drum and bass flies high as things lighten up again in the joyous Mr. Figit remix of “Don’t Mug Yourself”. Making a u-turn, The Streets show another housey-er lane to their boogie freeway on “Weak Become Heroes” with Ashley Beedle’s Love Bug vocals, the kind of juicy conga beats I wished they played more in our clubs around town. Even the technical drum and bass style is warmed up with a battle between the Streets and High Contrast on “It’s Come To This”.
Storyteller, garagey-rock-a-feller, hip-hop maker, geezer Johnny Walker drinker, Mike Skinner and his Streets crew are some amazing beat blokes. Get runnin’ to the your damn computer and pull down these tracks.