In stark contrast to Only by the Night, it is unlikely that many people will have been awaiting the latest album from The Streets with bated breath. Two and a bit years after The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living was released – an overindulgent and largely forgettable album (the excellent ‘Prangin Out’ excepted) – most people will have long forgotten about Mike Skinner and his unique brand of “geezer garage”. Which is a shame – because, as Everything is Borrowed will remind you, The Streets are really quite good.
This is a far sunnier and more optimistic record than previous albums – gone are the gritty portraits of urban living and drug addiction. Rather, in Everything is Borrowed Skinner celebrates the virtues of non-materialistic living – “I came to this world with nothing, and I leave with nothing but love” – and meditates on the wonders of natural selection – “For billions of years since the outset of time, every single one of your ancestors survived…what are the chances of that, like?”.
It’s all a bit preachy, but Skinner’s delivery is witty and endearing enough to get away with it. And when the lyrics do falter, the bouncy, summery backing tracks and fiendishly catchy choruses mean you’re inclined to give the album the benefit of the doubt.
Everything is Borrowed is a highly polished record that has clearly been written with chart success in mind. It lacks the raw gutsiness of The Streets debut, and Skinner doesn’t reach the same heights he does on A Grand Don’t Come for Free. But its cheerful catchiness makes it hard not to like.