The fourth studio effort from the eclectic London-based reggae ensemble, Swimming Lessons sees the Skints continuing to go against the current with a versatile 14-track set that touches on everything from reggae-pop, ska-punk, dub, and grime to hip-hop, soul, hard rock, and dancehall. With such a broad swath of sonic real estate to cover, it's impressive how much the band manages to maintain its overall identity. Sure, there are obvious touchstones (the Specials, the Abyssinians, Sublime, No Doubt, UB40), but the Skints are first and foremost a London band, and its members and music dutifully reflect the city's cosmopolitan vibe and commitment to multiculturalism. Embracing the anarchic spirit of British punk on the politically charged "The Island," the 8-bit influenced electro-dancehall on the infectious slice of life "Gets on Top," summery soul-pop on the closer "Stop Looking Back," and dub-kissed post-grunge on the punchy title cut, Swimming Lessons sounds unsure of itself on paper, but things feel a whole lot more cohesive with the volume up, the windows down, and the lights of the city on an endless loop in the rearview.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger