Skipping Girl Vinegar - Keep Calm Carry The Monkey (2011 LP)

Melbourne's favorite cafe folk band Skipping Girl Vinegar have finally released the long awaited second album, oddly titled Keep Calm, Carry The Monkey.

The album starts off where Sift the Noise ended. Sweet melodies and friendly tunes. But as you dig deeper into the album, you begin to notice the changes to the band’s sound. “Central Station” has a lonesome country ballad feel to it musically, but lyrically almost comes across as performance poetry. The tracks tend to have a darker edge running through them unlike their debut record which was more light and feel good. This record doesn't allow you to sing along but really listen and take notice of the songs and admire it's beauty in it's shadows.

“Hand To Hold” has an indie lo-fi feel to it complete with raucous breakdowns which is a massive shift in sound for Skipping Girl Vinegar. "Castles Full Of Storms" is a more melancholy affair with it's dirge like keys and use of haunting string for a more sorrowful atmosphere. A beautifully haunted track. "One Long Week" is more of the Skipping Girl Vinegar style which won people over on the first record. Light and airy with a catchy beat and tale of their whirlwind year last year where time flew by so fast it had only seemed like a week had passed and not twelve months.

Having worked some of this record in Nashville, the country influence seeps through. “Hell Out Of Town” is tub thumping tale of a villain on the run for cutting a man down. The album shifts again with the rocking “Wasted”, which is all about drinking and hangovers! before ending with the beautiful “Heart Does Ache”. The album also features the talents of singer/songwriter Ron Sexsmith and is first full length disc with violinist Kelly Lane.

This is still a beautifully constructed album. While Sift The Noise was light, Keep Calm, Carry The Monkey is dark. It's as if the band peeled away the layer of the first record and discovered a darker underbelly. This release definitely adds more weight and substance to the bands catalogue and I look forward to hearing the mix of songs now in their live set.

Review Score: 7/10

SGV Keep Calm, Carry The Monkey

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