-Greg’s Take- Skinny Lister – Forge & Flagon

“I miss my love so dearly/I miss my home sweet home/I wish that you could hear me/I’d let my plan be known/that we sail away tomorrow/god speed me to your side/raise the anchor up boys/and bid this land good bye”

With that Skinny Lister propels themselves into the stratosphere of English-folk. Dubbed the hardest working festival band, Skinny Lister hails from London and has lined up Forge & Flagon with precision and masterfully timed hooks, expanding with brilliance into emptiness and restraining like pros before ever becoming overbearing or harsh.

The quintet, comprised of Dan Heptinstall, Lorna Thomas, Sam ‘Mule’ Brace, Max Thomas and Dan Gray pay homage to their folk upbringings by crafting an identifiable sound that will have you stomping your feet (“Trawler Man”), chanting with your ale raised high (“John Kanaka”) and finding grace and warmth in beautiful vocals(“Peregrine Fly”).  A finely timed acoustic guitar, tambourine, upright bass and harmonious vocals stabilize the foundation of their original folk. Typically one or two tracks stand out on albums released at this point in a band’s career, but with Skinny Lister I found instant addiction with at least nine of the twelve. Any way you look at it, if you give the record a listen you’ll be hooked and scratching for more.  “Colours,” “If The Gaff Don’t Let Us Down,” “Forty Pound Wedding” and well, tell you what, look at the track listing, every single one of those songs is superbly orchestrated and addicting. Forge & Flagon, begins strong and much to my amazement finishes even stronger. The record is a continuing list of instant favorites and easily in the top three best albums I’ve heard in 2012. The only problem with Forge & Flagon is that you’ll want to hit repeat after each song, but then struggle with the thought of not getting right into the next.

Having established a strong following in their home country, not to mention the Skinny Sisters, Skinny Lister makes folk great again. Dishing out quite a bit on Forge & Flagon you may think they’ve played all their cards and you’d be wrong. Though brilliant on record, live they are simply electric.

Skinny Lister shows no signs of slowing down. Prepping for even more shows and the potential for some stateside, these five live for their music and it is evident in every chord, lyric and foot stomp.

Pints up, Skinny Lister deserves all the cheer and attention they can get.

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