ejoice, UK garage fans: a mighty seven years in the making, The Streets’ upcoming release The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light is the Mike Skinner-led project’s first album in over a decade.
Out October 20, the full-length record will be accompanied by a film of the same name. Skinner has also announced a show at London’s iconic Alexandra Palace venue on November 16, in support of the new release, along with a UK headline tour.
In a press release, Skinner said: “It has been seven long years working on this film and album. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and after dipping my toe in with some shorts and music videos, I felt I was ready. I tried to go the traditional route for a bit, but it’s always served me better to follow my instincts and just get on with it myself, so I’ve directed it, acted in it, edited, sound mixed, funded, produced it all as well as written it. The album doesn’t exist without it.”
He continued: “Ultimately, it’s all the fruits of a decade on the DJ circuit, watching people in clubs and back rooms, testing out beats and basslines to see what connected – and putting it all together into The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light”.
Originally breaking through in 2002 with the Mercury Prize-nominated Original Pirate Material, recorded by Skinner at his Brixton flat, The Streets became well-known for their genre-hopping blend club and hip-hop genres. One of the most influential UK albums of the 21st Century, their rap opera 2004’s A Grand Don’t Come for Free charts the trials and tribulations of its protagonist as he tries to recoup a thousand quid he’s lost in mysterious circumstances, and showcases Skinner’s witty, charismatic storytelling. The group’s most recent record was 2011’s Computers and Blues, though The Streets enlisted the likes of Tame Impala, Greentea Peng, and IDLES for 2020’s collaborative mixtape None of Us Are Getting Out of This Life Alive.
Kicking off this new era, The Streets have also offered up a preview of things to come, in the shape of new single Troubled Waters; a euphoric trancey record heavy on drum and bass influences, with Skinner’s trademark lyrical flair on full display. “Salt and vinegar’s the best flavour of rude,” he quips, “you say unseasoned chicken really ain’t for you”
Have a listen above.
The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light’s companion film project, meanwhile, is a tripped out noir murder mystery, based in London’s clubland. The film was written, directed, shot, edited, scored and funded by Skinner himself, who even created his own special effects on the film. It was shot in numerous locations around the UK and will be available to watch at Everyman Cinemas throughout the UK, with more details on the release to follow soon.
Here is the full tracklist for The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light:
1. Too Much Yayo
2. Money Isn’t Everything
3. Walk Of Shame
4. Something To Hide
5. Shake Hands With Shadows
6. Not A Good Idea
7. Bright Sunny Day
8. The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light
9. Funny Dream
10. Gonna Hurt When This Is Over
11. Kick The Can
12. Each Day Gives
13. Someone Else’s Tune
14. Troubled Waters
15. Good Old Daze