Boomkat Product Review:
With his eagerly anticipated debut studio album, 'Skid Row' James Ferraro offers an insightful critique of modern day America viewed thru the grim prism of one of its largest stable homeless populations in the notorious, eponymous district of L.A.
Arriving two years since 'NYC, Hell' and, six months since the very sad loss of his early patron and ally, Hippos In Tanks' Barron Machat, the album straddles a typically ambiguous line between cliches of burnt-out urban ennui and excess, and a sense of psychedelic, soulful sincerity with much the same sort of class and verve of his sometime collaborator, Dean Blunt.
The unshakeable influence of late '80s/early '90s commercial music, pop and R&B and cinema lingers from his earlier phases but, those elements feel more sculpted, uncannily spaced-out and with eerie room to breathe in-the-mix.
First and foremost, though, these are proper songs and it plays thru like a proper album, rather than a concept suite or stream-of-consciousness spool. Ferraro sings, raps and talks about his everyday observations, with lyrics about psycho cops, mediated violence and racism often stemming from his poetry and attempting to sum up "the state of the world around me, living on what feels like the brink of societal collapse while also seeing high excess everywhere… all the sounds of the streets crept in."
From our relatively detached position in the UK, 'Skid Row' offers a unique, anachronistic and possibly, darkly romanticised insight to a world far removed, usually only glimpsed in newsreels and internet video clips and effectively unrepresented in 99% of the American music that we stock.
Repeat listens will unpackage its themes further, but for now you can colour us beguiled.