The Streets – The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light (2023)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 47:27 minutes | 574 MB | Genre: Hip-Hop, Rap
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Rhino
The album is a classic Streets album – filled with Skinner’s trademark lyrical wizardry and beats honed over a decade of building his other career as a legitimate bass/rap DJ in clubs – all songs written by Skinner but featuring vocal contributions from longtime collaborators Kevin Mark Trail and Robert Harvey, as well as a track featuring Teef. The songs on the album soundtrack the film and also play the role of narrator of the film at times – and whilst neither the album or film exist without each other – both can be enjoyed separately.
One of the most recognisable voices to have emerged from the UK garage scene in the nineties and noughties, The Streets frontman Mike Skinner’s last decade or so has been marked by ups and downs. A six-year drought followed the band’s fifth—and at the time, final—album, Computers and Blues (2011), after which the project was revived as something of a legacy act, releasing only the occasional single or collaboration, and one full-length: the None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive (2020) mixtape. In 2023, the result of Skinner’s silent labors have at last seen the light of day, via The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light, an album and identically titled indie film-noir and murder mystery musical.
Where many fall victim to the routine inertia which comes with writing an album, touring it, and eventually tiring of it, this new, hybrid release represents far more than a mere snapshot of a couple of years of creativity. It is the culmination of seven or more years of hard graft, which saw Skinner take on the role of producer, rapper, director, actor, screenwriter—everything necessary to bring the album and its accompanying film into being … and all in the absence of external funding. “It’s been an obsession … I kind of did everything myself so it just didn’t stop, really. The tunnel was very long, very dark, and there was no light—apart from a train, maybe,” he has shared.
As far as the format goes, there’s nothing new under the sun here. Indeed, the filmic aspect should come as no surprise to Streets fans given the conceptual similarity to A Grand Don’t Come For Free (2004), an album which also flirted with portraying a movie-like narrative over its course. What stands out with this project is Skinner’s unrelenting commitment to seeing through his highly ambitious artistic designs, no matter the cost or consequence. His instinct for storytelling and nose for excitement in the seemingly everyday both resonate across the fifteen tracks, the sound of which picks up right where the band left off: garage, bassline, and drum and bass beats set the pace for characteristically unfussy, in-your-face riffs and Skinner’s dry, Brummie delivery.
The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light exceeds even the most daring aspirations of its creator, and will surely go down as a fan favourite in the band’s discography. Have a break, Mike—you’ve definitely earned it this time. – Finn Kverndal
01. The Streets – Too Much Yayo (03:41)
02. The Streets – Money Isn’t Everything (feat. Teef) (02:56)
03. The Streets – Walk of Shame (02:56)
04. The Streets – Something to Hide (03:13)
05. The Streets – Shake Hands With Shadows (03:26)
06. The Streets – Not a Good Idea (03:26)
07. The Streets – Bright Sunny Day (03:20)
08. The Streets – The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light (02:40)
09. The Streets – Funny Dream (02:56)
10. The Streets – Gonna Hurt When This Is Over (02:58)
11. The Streets – Kick The Can (02:10)
12. The Streets – Each Day Gives (03:24)
13. The Streets – Someone Else’s Tune (03:10)
14. The Streets – Troubled Waters (03:54)
15. The Streets – Good Old Daze (03:12)