Skunk Anansie review – Smashes and Trashes
We welcome the impressive return of Skunk Anansie with their aptly-named “Smashes and Trashes” collection of greatest hits (including 3 new singles). Boundary breaking contemporary music? Check. Iconic female lead? Check. Epic back catalogue? Check. If you’re wearing socks, prepare to have them blown off.
Skunk Anansie plays what its lead singer, Skin, would call “Clit-rock”, which is apparently an amalgamation of heavy metal and black feminist rage. Seriously. It’s unsurprising, then, that the band has been accused of having socio-political undertones. If you like your music smart, poignant and catchy as hell, this might be the band for you. And you aren’t alone – surely 5 million people can’t be wrong!
Because of you – Skunk Anansie
“Because of you” is one of the awesome new singles and although ambitious, it doesn’t disappoint. It opens with a nape-prickling guitar riff not too far removed from Paramore’s “Decode” but that’s where the comparisons end. The song is stadium-ready, bursting at its seams with visceral energy and complete with an unforgettable performance by Skin. It’s the kind of song you can fall in love with on first hearing and I challenge you not to.
“Squander” is another of the new singles and is a glance at the band’s soft underbelly. Although it can only be described as a ballad – relaxed, atmospheric and easy to listen to – it has all the band’s flair without losing a fibre of the substance.
The last of the new tracks is “Tear the place up”. Chaotic. Hyper. Manic, Another gem that shines with intensity and the edginess typical of Skunk Anansie.
Aside from the three new singles, the album is teeming with classics such as “Brazen (Weep)”, the empowering, rejoiceful “Weak” and “Selling Jesus”.
“Charlie Big Potato” makes an appearance in all its sinister, melodic glory, creeping its way into your subconscious with power and guile. Skin’s vocals are remarkable and fitful; by turns hypnotic with gentle whispers and obliterating screams.
“Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good)” is perhaps their best-known song and with songs like these, it’s no wonder Skunk Anansie are a multi-platinum band. “Hedonism” is an anthem and a half – Skin’s vocals are simply extraordinary, confrontational yet tinged in the slightest degree with vulnerability.
After an eight year hiatus and with such an impressive back-catalogue, it would be easy for Skunk Anansie to pedal the old material but thankfully, they have no such agenda. It’s clear that they have returned revitalised and equipped with an artillery of blistering tracks to satisfy old fans and garner new ones in the process.
With its fifteen career-embracing tracks, “Smashes and Trashes” is a great wedge of nostalgia but if you missed out on Skunk Anansie the first time round, it’s also a great place to start. Fellow Mooks, pencil November 2nd 2009 in your calendars. ‘Tis the release date of “Smashes and Trashes”. You won’t be disappointed.