Skunk Anansie


Written by: HES on 08/02/2016 08:42:19

Skunk Anansie grew semi-big in the 90s with a few well chosen, powerful ballads. The band quietly reunited in 2009, leading to now 3 comeback records, including the addition of the album in question, “Anarchytecture”. The record is heavily dominated by a preoccupation with the 90’s in the shape of combining grungy rock with electronic elements. The result is a lazily composed collection of songs - barely worthy of the interest of even the dedicated fans.

The song “Love Someone” has one of the most rudimentary verses reminiscent of the first few songs an aspiring artist would write in middle school. Vocalist “Skin” tries to hide this fact by adding kitten-ish vocals to the primarily repetitive and would be sexual (in reality asexual) verse. The chorus is equally uninspiring and repetitive trying to somehow drag the energy of the track up with the enthusiasm of badly produced electronica. On the flipside, “That Sinking Feeling” is one of the only well-made songs of the record, as it actually utilizes the instruments. The tonality of the vocals in the chorus is also cleverly crafted so that it challenges whether or not it is out of key. I wish the band had worked more towards this result, but this song is but one in a primarily helpless mix that makes one question whether or not the off-key bit is an achievement of luck or skill.

Because of the up-beat construction of most of the songs, Skin’s voice is usually strained and in the upper part of her vocal range. It makes her otherwise beautiful and characteristic voice, known from heyday tracks like “Weak”, seem flat and brittle. On tracks like “Victim”, it is clear that the upper notes lose all solidity. Most of the songs are also so focused on the vocals, repeated into oblivion, or to a point where they start to annoy you as a listener.

In spite of the soundscape being dark and gloomy, it still appears very superficial, sometimes reminiscent of your music class keyboard’s drum option, particularly apparent on the start of the ballads “Without You” and “Death To The Lovers”. Overall it is clear that the focus of the record is to somewhat frame Skin’s voice and very little thought has been put into actually making the dynamic work. The instrumentation simply seems like an afterthought, often created with the most basic tools available. “Anarchytecture” somewhat implies an anarchistic approach to music that Skunk Anansie simply, even with their best work of yesteryear, do not have. Whereas their earlier work was a miniature riot, as the sound was relatively new, “Anarchytecture” seems a paint by numbers attempt to make the 90’s edgy and dark again. The poor construction even stops the album from being a quick, yet welcomed, throwback to back when the band was actually relevant. The addition of overly sexualized lyrics just adds to the dated feeling, like your mom trying to be edgy and free-spirited instead of just being genuine. “Anarchytecture” is trying so hard that it almost becomes awkward, even sad.


Download: That Sinking Feeling, Victim
For The Fans Of: Heather Nova, Skin, Levellers

Release date 15.01.2016
One Little Indian, Virgin, Epic

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