Album review: Snapped Ankles – Stunning Luxury

Snapped Ankles - Stunning Luxury album cover

It’s really hard to describe Snapped Ankles. They’re part dance, part psych-rock, part crusty avent-garde, part post-punk and a whole heap of English eccentricity. This is a group that dress in ghillie suits on stage and look like shamanistic yetis (see my unofficial Mutations Festival 2019 awards article for more).

Stunning Luxury is the band’s second album, following the release of the fantastic Come Play The Trees in 2017 – one of my albums of that year.

It picks up where the last album left off, but if possible it’s even more out-there.

There is classic Snapped Ankles on show here, such as the incessant synth line on Tailpipe, that you just can’t help being sucked in by. Delivery Van is a cracking bass-guitar driven number that plays with some truly odd keyboard melodies and 60s pysychodelia and general nuttiness.

Drink and Glide is another slice of the band at their most unashamedly enjoyable, with guitar and synth working in perfect harmony to keep a smile on everyone’s faces.

Rechargeable is probably my favourite track, a proper toe-tapping, head nodder that builds speed and layers as it progresses from its minimalistic start.

There is greater experimentation is on show on Stunning Luxury, which sometimes works, but sometimes falls short.

Letter From Hampi Mountain is a little hard to get into and seems to revolve around something akin to a bagpipe that’s swallowed a 56K modem. By the end, though, you are on board with it all. Similarly, Skirmish in the Suburb‘s Blade Runner-style opening keeps you hanging on for the eventually satisfying drums and acid synth conclusion.

Elsewhere though we have Three Steps to a Development‘s electro funk, which takes some getting in to. Stylistically it feels all over the place. You’re waiting for all the threads to pull together at the end, which they kind of do, but perhaps the payoff isn’t as big as you would hope. With Dial the Rings on a Tree, you are also left wanting more.

All things considered, this probably isn’t as strong a work as their debut, but the sheer audacity of Stunning Luxury is most definitely worth checking out – even if you don’t think this is your style of music. I also have a feeling that this may be a grower. Don’t be surprised if my rating improves over time.

Release date: 01 March 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: Rechargeable

For fans of:

  • Phobophobes
  • Goat
  • Flamingods

Listen on Spotify

Album review: Rat Boy – Internationally Unknown

Rat Boy - Internationally Unknown album cover

Chelmsford born Jordan Cardy, A.K.A. Rat Boy, has pulled off quite a trick with Internationally Unknown, merging pop, punk, rap, reggae, dance, dub and ska into a feast of infectious tunes.

Chip on My Shoulder launches us into the album headfirst and screaming, a raucous punk effort that will have you bouncing around. There are a fair few all-out pop-punk episodes peppered across the album including I Wanna Skate, Dad’s Crashed Car and So What, which are tremendously enjoyable tributes to Green Day et al. But it’s when Rat Boy pulls in other elements that the album gets really interesting.

My Name Is Rat Boy takes a trip around Reggae, Ska and Dub while Rat Boy raps almost as energetically as he plays trashy guitars. Night Creature, is a slower Reggae track that throws in a bit of Dubstep to boot.

There are influence flying in from all over the place, from The Clash and The Sex Pistols, to Fatboy Slim, The Specials, De La Soul, Sisters of Mercy and Rage Against The Machine. Despite all that, Rat Boy manages to pull them all together into coherent and hugely enjoyable pop numbers.

Internationally Unknown is undoubtedly a pop album at its heart, drawing on the tried and tested ‘Ode to disaffected youth’ formula. However, I get the feeling that it’s a pop album that arrived a couple of decades too late.

It’s most certainly worth half an hour of your time, but with so many throwback influences it may struggle to land with a younger audience. Perhaps Rat Boy is a boy out of time.

Release date: 25 January 2019

Rating: 7.5/10

Standout track: My Name Is Rat Boy

For fans of:

  • Green Day
  • The Specials
  • Fatboy Slim

Listen on Spotify