The first signing to Mike Skinner's new label, brothers Teddy and Tony Mitchell are tailor-made for the job. Even the manner in which they got his attention, slipping a demo in Mike's back pocket as he queued at Barclays Bank in Brixton, sounds like something straight from one of The Streets' urban narratives.
Acting as producer, it's as if Skinner has adopted the TheBrothersas an alter-ego which allows him to return to the flippant street observations of his own debut, before he became the critically celebrated,concept-weaving master story teller of A Grand Don't Come For Free. In fact at times The Mitchell Brothers sound is so like The Streets it verges on parody.
A Daily Mail columnist listening to aBreath of Fresh Attire would find enough meat to fill months of editorial; themes include benefit scams, fraudulent crime reporting, drink driving and the irresponsible behaviour of Britain's young fathers. But, between baiting the social order and swearing, Tony and Teddy deliver insights into young black Britain that may strike a chord with an audience that didn't get all the fuss over the last Streets record.
"Routine Check" depicts a defiant response to the Met's unpopular Stop and Search policy. But even more scathing is the attack on West London fashion institution Harvey Nicks; "The security give me grief / They must think I'm a thief cuz I don't sound like The Streets," guest emcee Sway deadpans.
In fact, this album does sound like The Streets.And,although it lacks some of the wit and invention of Skinner's best music,it comes highly recommended. Teddy and Tony are the geezers that the world could never quite accept Mike Skinner to be. In a sense, this is his difficult third album.