‘Computers And Blues’ is the fifth and final album from The Streets (aka Mike Skinner). On this album, Skinner works very closely with Robert Harvey, from Leeds alternative rock band The Music, who appears on several songs. British singer-songwriter Claire Maguire also appears on a few songs.
Mike Skinner‘s unique vocal style, half rap/half spoken word, is very hit and miss on this album, adding to some tracks, yet making others lag. The album begins with a mixture of old school computer sounds and blips whilst Mike Skinner repeats the refrain in a heavily edited robotic tone. The track then springs into life with a funky, Spanish tinged guitar riff and some decent lyrics.
Second track ‘Going Through Hell’ is the first to feature The Music vocalist Robert Harvey. It possesses some pretty catchy vocals in the chorus, and is probably the best track on the album. The one downside of this track is that the hooky guitar riff sounds like a midi programme made it, which is a shame as with the addition of a real guitar sound this could have been a very good track, as it stands it’s just good.
‘Roof Of Your Car’ and ‘Puzzled By People’ are both very bland and forgettable tracks, that aimlessly ramble along not really going anywhere. ‘Without Thinking’ possesses a very summery sounding, catchy keyboard riff. ‘Blip On A Screen’ is a very reflective song, and fits with Mike Skinner‘s half rap/half spoken word vocal style a lot better than some of the other tracks on the album.
The acoustic guitar laden ‘We Can Never Be Friends’ is another good track, featuring a guest vocal from co-collaborator Robert Harvey. The song features some great little guitar solos dotted throughout, and contains some of the best vocals from Skinner. Alphabet referencing drum ‘n’ bass track ‘ABC’ and Facebook relationship status romance of ‘OMG’ follow. The former stands out like a sore thumb, in the fact that it doesn’t quite sit so well with the musicianship of the rest of the record.
At 14 tracks long, the album tends to drag quite often with quite a few songs sounding far too similar. The vocal style really works on some songs, but drags others down. However, the streams of thought lyrics are often intelligent and soul baring, and there are a couple of really good tracks and good moments in an otherwise forgetful record.
Written by Alex Mitchell-Fox