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
Standout track: Rechargeable
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