If you were hoping for a repeat of 'A Grand Don't Come For Free' you've come to the wrong house, but if you were looking (as I was) for a repeat of some of the poetic insight of 'Original Pirate Material then this could well float your boat. The Streets third studio album combines much of the winning ingredients of the first releases and certainly appears to have recreated some the magic of 'OPM'. While 'A Grand...' combinbed numerous themes, the common thread here is fame and fortune aren't all they cracked up to be, and while there's nothing particularly groundbreaking, there are certainly some catchy tunes. As with the previous albums, listen to it at least three times before making a call either way.
From the opening pain of 'Pranging Out' (charting the hell that is a Grade A comedown), through to 'Fake Street Hats', there is no real 'Dry Your Eyes' remake anywhere, although Skinner has produced some edgier material and appears to be having a dark night of the soul...he does tip his hat to Johnny Cash in 'Two Nations', and so this may have something to do with it!
While I loved 'A Grand...', I have always thought 'OPM' to be the superior record, and so for me this album delivers in more ways than one. Listening to 'Can't Con An Honest John' there is certainly plenty of the original charm and innovation. It's a tough call but the best track is probably 'Never Went To Church', a heartfelt ode to Skinner's dead father.
The two previous albums have undoubtedly been a hard act to follow, and from the sound of some of the material, Skinner was lucky to get this far!
Despite the criticsms Skinner is still streets ahead (no pun intended) of the competition on either side of the Atlantic, and if you're already a fan, you won't be dissapointed. If you're new to Mikey then check out the earlier material first.