When I first put on West Yorkshires Skank Agenda new album Hate This Shit on I was taken aback by its sound. When I saw the name and read some of the song titles on the CD (We Would Like To Apologise For The Poor, Stuck On Destroy for example) I expected some fast political ska punk in the same vein as Florida’s Against All Authority (criminally underrated band). I was quite wrong with my guess. Hate This Shit is a stripped back acoustic ska punk album, a sound I hadn’t really heard all that much before.
Hate This Shit starts off with the song Kids Of The Caribiners. The rawness of the album is presented straight away with the song using only guitars and lots of gang vocals it sets it gives you a feel of what to expect from the rest of the release. The first song that really stood out for me was Gary Oldman. This fun song about the Hollywood actor again features lots of gang vocals and a really catchy chorus.
We Would Like To Apologise For The Poor is the first song where a full band is used. This political song about being looked down upon if you’re not part of the 1%. The rawness on this record really gives the song an extra shot in the arm of passion that you might not get using electric instruments. Kind of like the energy and passion that was on Against Me!’s early EPs. This is followed by the song Me and George Clooney. Starting off with a calypso style guitar riff the song tells what I’m guessing is fictitious account of a day spent with Batman himself.
The light hearted feel of Me and George Clooney goes straight away on the next song, Numbers Game. This song is an all out assault on the people running the country and why they are hated. So much anger is spewed out of lead singer Alejandro's vocals. Accompanied by some harmonies that sound like they could be from a cult, it really adds some atmosphere. This is followed by the excellent Educating Richard. This is a song I can easily relate to. I’m always trying to get people to listen to punk rock music, I truly believe some of the greatest songs ever written lie in the genre and I get so frustrated when people refuse to listen because they have a preconception of what punk rock music is. That’s what Educating Richard is about.
Track nine, For You is another stand out. The fastest paced song on Hate This Shit is about the things Alejandro would do for someone he loves. If a punk rocker ever wants to declare his love for someone, this is the song to cover. Great fun! Pete On Drugs is about the struggles of drug addiction. This is the most heartfelt song on the album. The introduction of the female harmonies midway through the song was a masterstroke in giving the song some emotion. I found myself feeling slightly emotional during this section thinking of some friends who have struggled with addiction. It really didn’t expect to get this sort of feeling when listening to Hate This Shit, a testament to some great song writing by the band. The album finishes with the song Atonement. An acoustic punk song telling the government to take responsibility for their mistakes and to make up for them.
For me it did take a little while to really get Hate This Shit. This was probably due to the unique sound that really surprised me. Honestly I probably wouldn’t have given it a second listen if I wasn’t reviewing it but boy I’m glad I did! On Hate This Shit Skank Agenda have written a collection on very unique and interesting songs covering a wide range of topics. Everything you would expect from a punk album, songs about frustrations, drugs, politics and of course love. Give Skank Agenda a chance; you’ll be glad you did. I am.
Listen to more from Skank Agenda here: https://skankagenda.bandcamp.com
Now listening to Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious (Acoustic) by Against Me!