Phil Manley

The term ‘solo instrumental album’ strikes dreaded fear into music
critics, label managers and all but the most dedicated of fans. They
are often employed as a platform to create self-indulgent pieces by
ego-laden people with little to say.

‘Life Coach’, crafted by a founding member of legendary DC trio
Trans Am and now in-demand studio engineer Phil Manley,

does not fall completely foul of all the usual road-tested demons and has
resulted in a reliably steady album that predictably passes with little

But whether sounding ike a motorik-hugging Kraftwerk
on opener ‘FT2 Theme’ or swerving to an atmospherically
acoustic piece with flashes of Indian inspired overtones on
‘Make Good Choices’,

this album maintains a lacklustre spirit throughout.

There are many good reasons why these kinds of albums
tend to disappear without a trace.

At the other end of the scale, down where the likes of 2008’s disappointing ‘Everything Is Borrowed’ stews in its misguided,

commercial vibes, are tracks like the almost passable ‘Roof of Your Car’ (a song so breezily aware of its own organ pop heart that it’s most likely to be the album’s lead single),

the even more annoyingly chipper ‘Without A Blink’ and the plainly sickening ‘Blip On A Screen’,

throughout which Skinner expresses his love for a foetus on a scan.

And before long we arrive at the final ever track on the final ever Streets album, which is quite sad.

‘Lock The Locks’ is as poignant as you’d hope it to be from a man who once gave us ‘Stay Positive’ and ‘Weak Become Heroes’.

Thinly veiled behind a first hand account of quitting an office job and packing an anonymous desk into a box, Skinner defends his
quitting by rapping, “Even though to most it looked random/my heart had left/I was going in tandem.”

It’s the only track that references The Streets’ retirement,

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