Label: 679 Recordings / Warner Music Uk Ltd
Released: 13th October 2023
Mike Skinner’s career since The Streets’ opening two masterpieces in the early noughties has been long and often variable in quality, but he remains one of UK music’s most compelling and enigmatic figures and a return to The Streets will always be a big deal. ‘The Darker the Shadow, the Brighter the Light’ is his first Streets album in 12 years and finds Skinner working at his most ambitious and expansive as the album soundtracks his self-directed feature film of the same name.
It’s a record that has both a nostalgic warmth yet bristles with modern day tension as Mike Skinner explores the dancefloor and the undulations of both sound and emotion with his customary eye for detail and a knowingly clever turn of phrase. At times playful as he uses different sonic palates like on the dancehall lilt of ‘Something To Hide’ or the slightly disorienting country-ish twang of ‘Walk Of Shame’ the album is at its best though in the darker moments like the moody dread of ‘Money Isn’t Everything’ or the juddering bass of ‘Someone Else’s Tune’. The music doesn’t always match the scale of ambition but it finds Mike Skinner firmly back in the storytelling groove which is always a good place to be.