If you’ve always wanted to visit New York but can’t currently hit up the Big Apple, you can always check out Manhattan, the debut LP from punk rock quartet SKATERS.
“If you listen to the record from start to finish you actually see the subject of the character kind of changing from someone who’s like shocked by the lights of the city and ending with someone who has transformed into someone that feels like they belong here,” drummer Noah Rubin told MTV News. “So I definitely think the newer songs are more like someone becoming a New Yorker, where the older songs are more about the excitement of being here.”
SKATERS are all New York transplants, having come together in the city a few years ago. Barely settled, the guys — former members of Dead Trees, Paddingtons and Dirty Pretty Things — formed a band and penned an EP, Schemers, which caught the attention of Warner Bros, who signed the band soon after.
Manhattan, which is streaming now and drops in the U.S. on February 25, is a kind of culmination of those years in New York — a step up from the similarly city-centric EP.
“Schemers was the five songs that… encapsulated what we had experienced in New York in that brief time that we had been there,” Rubin said. “The songs were written about the city and when songs are written about New York, they’re very idiosyncratic to the New York thing. You can’t really escape it.”
As Rubin said, the LP takes a more immersive dive — from “To Be Young,” which takes a wry look at newer transplants, a.k.a. “a generation of jerks,” to closer “This Much I Care,” a darker deal that seems to encapsulate how we all feel (or don’t feel) about love after years in the city.
In between, there’s ruminations on girls who bust up bands (“Bandbreaker”), the harrowing tale of a sniper cornered (“Deadbolt”) and just loose-limbed dance jams like “I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How).”
Studded throughout — ala The So So Glos on their latest, Blowout — are also sonic snippets of the city: the sound of the subway, girls talking loudly about getting a condo, a cab driver chatting about prayer, etc.
“It’s a transition from being in different bands and living in different parts of the world and ending up in New York,” guitarist Josh Hubbard added, speaking of the record’s progression. “So the later tracks on the record become a little darker and a little bit more distorted.”
Dark and distorted? Tourists beware.