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

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2018 Music Review – February

February was a reasonably quiet month in terms of ear-grabbing releases, but there were still a few stand out moments to be had.

Take for instance the electronica-laced jazz musings of Manchester trio GoGo Penguin on A Humdrum Star. I’ve never really been one to listen to Jazz, and still can’t really stand the more trad stuff, but when fused with something that can provide a real soul, like this album does, it takes it to another level.

Elsewhere there’s the desolate, haunting beauty of Efrim Manuel Menuck on Pissing Stars. Like Thom Yorke when he’s feeling particularly depressed. Not really selling that am I, but it’s worth a listen.

If you fancy a bit of Nine Inch Nails crossed with the Sisters of Mercy then Criminal by The Soft Moon might be for you. Or if you prefer a some light-hearted punk then The Lovely Eggs may brighten your day.

However it was the bands keeping the indie/alt rock flame alive that did it for me in Feb. In particular Sub Pop’s Moaning brightened my day with its warmly familiar distorted guitar hooks, while South London’s Phobophobes pulled it out of the bag with some terrific psyche-indie fronted by Nick Cave sound-a-like Jamie Taylor.

Top 10 February 2018

1: Phobophobes – Minature World

Standout track: Where is my owner?

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2: Moaning – Moaning

Standout track: Artificial

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3: Hookworms – Microshift

Standout track: Negative Scanner

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4: Fever Ray – Plunge

Standout track: To the Moon and Back

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5: The Soft Moon – Criminal

Standout track: Like a Father

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6: The Lovely Eggs – This is Eggland

Standout track: Wiggy Giggy

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7: GoGo Penguin – A Humdrum Star

Standout track: Bardo

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8: Efrim Manuel Menuck – Pissing Stars

Standout track: The State and Its Love and Genocide

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9: Turnstile – Time and Space

Standout track: Real Thing

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10: Loma – Loma

Standout track: Black Willow

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