Tom Robinson : Top 10 favourite albums : number 9 : 2002 THE STREETS – Original Pirate Material

Well, somebody had to provide us with an antidote to Strokesmania in the early noughties, and in the end it was an unknown Brummie 23-year old singing vocals into his wardrobe in Brixton with a duvet over his head. Unknown or not, NME gave Original Pirate Material its front cover in 2002, something that was still very much a big deal at the time. Mike Skinner’s voice – both his vocal chords and the subjects he covers on this record – are uniquely, self-evidently truthful. I’m told the record owes a lot to UK Garage – something I wouldn’t recognise if it bit me in the leg – but I do know that Skinner’s DIY production sounds sparse and effortless, with every note underpinning his flat, cheesegrater delivery to perfection. It’s a gobsmacking record by any measure, let alone for a beginner’s first effort. Standout tracks – hard to choose, but Weak Become Heroes would be one of my Desert Island Discs for sure. Across 14 songs of effortless class and freshness Mike Skinner creates an entire world of his own and invites us to join him in it. See you there.

For number 10 in Tom Robinson’s top 10 favourite albums please go here

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