Eight years ago, 5 young Barrow teenagers got together to form their own band. Throughout those eight years, Synko have supported some of the county most well known bands like Grasp, The Return, Inertia Flow, Genic, WORM, Nana's Revenge, Mindless, Tauntra, Colurblind, Second To Last, Call Of Duty and Legohair to name but a few. And their repertoire of songs has grown and grown, with many not seeing the light of day on an EP or demo... until now! (Well several months ago, but hey it sounds better than several months ago!)
The band recorded their very first full-length album in 2004, showcasing new songs, as well as re-recordings of their most well known songs from over the years. With an allegiance of fans and followers from Manchester, Cumbria, SW Scotland and Bob Geldof, has their manifesto of an album paid off?
The album kicks off with their Best Song nominee "All Hail The Critics", which brings a mix of old-skool ska and new-skool ska. This tracks shows strong vocals from vocalist Carol Hodge, as well as lots of interesting organ sounds, coming courtesy from keyboardist John Kay. It is a strong opener and a strong contender for the Best Song award. The second track, "Around and Around", has more of a punk sound to this very skanky ska song. This track really shows the good guitar work from guitarist Frazer Burley. The track really stands out with its infectious chorus. "Alien Song" is the third track and the first re-recording on the album. Originally featured on the "Thorny Subjects" EP, the band opt for a longer intro and more guitar effects in this version, but still retained that electro infectious pop sound that sounds like a cross between No Doubt and Scouser band Space.
The fourth track is their own well known song "Plastics On The Beach", and the second re-recording. Their live version if this track is a hell of a lot different to the original recording on their "Crustacean Fixation" EP, being more ska than pop. And it was no surprise to hear that they went in this direction, making a newer sound to the song. Gone is the political intro, and enter ska/punk with John getting some backing vocals in this version, especially since he has to play the keyboards and the saxophone in this song! Despite the change of sound, it is still as infectious and catchy as the original recording. The fifth track "It's The Same" plays more on synth-like keyboard sound, making it more pop-like with a ska feel to it. Every member is able to stand out on this track with their instruments and not be drowned out by each other. Going into the sixth track "All Dollars, No Sense" returns to a very ska/punk rock out track, which is one that is guaranteed to start skanking on the dance floor. This track does show them at their best when performing live. Track seven is "To Us All", which is a more mellow track, like a change in direction to the infectious pop, ska and punk from the previous tracks. The track really does showcase the vocal talents of Carol and the keyboard skills of John.
"10ft Tall" is the eighth track and returns to their live sound, with fast punk to skank yourself silly to! This is definitely one of their best song, very tight and everyone plays and sings very well. The ninth track goes into last year's Best Song nominee "War Of The Roses", which goes dark and murky pop, with a gothic rock sound. A different sound to an album that has brought happy pop, ska, punk and even a mellow pop sound - it feels like you are being spoilt rotten! The album continues with its murky keyboard sounds with "Sweet Deceit", which could be considered as their slow meaningful punk song - like Green Day with soul and an anthem like feel. One of the band's fave tracks is the eleventh track and you know that when you hear "Captain Excess", it's a happy ska song that brings skanking happiness to the dance floor! All hail Captain Excess, with his pure ska sound and... an accordion?!?! The twelfth track is "Love Is...” which is another track originally from "Crustacean Fixation". But even though it is still a very good, with a very operatic like pop rock, sort of like watching the Rocky Horror Show, with John and Carol duetting, it does sound absolutely similar to the original recording. The album finishes with one of their very first songs, dating back to 1997 - "Forever Young". It still retains its original feel, which is slow indie like pop, with Carol playing the harmonica. The track is a perfect ending to the album, and is still as strong as the original from 8 years ago.
The album is like a story into the career of Synko from the style of music to the maturity of the tracks - and it paid off better than they could have hoped. The band are still proving that they are still a popular band with lots of potential and even after eight years there is still fresh new ideas and new genres to explore. And I will be looking forward to hearing them in the future! - 9.5/10!