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 of the week: Yak – Pursuit of Momentary Happiness

Yak - Pursuit of Momentary Happiness album cover

Yak‘s second album sees them grinding out some pretty heavy sounds, recalling the likes of Sabbath and Zep alongside more recent psych and stoner rock. But they’ve also managed to add in some elements of doo-wop and swing along the way, making Pursuit of Momentary Happiness the most intriguing album of the week.

Bellyache get us underway with a nice bit of distored funky wah-wah guitar and a heavy bass line, that contrasts well with its high pitched chorus. As a opening track it show us that Yak are at the peak of their game.

We get more bluesy on Fried, but the groove-laden bass continues – it’s a track that stoner rock fans will find hard not to appreciate.

Title track Pursuit of Momentary Happiness is a slower number that plays heavily on the atmospherics and keyboards to create a more Floyd-esque feel, before the full-on psych kicks in.

There are a number of other softer moments and 50’s influence on show here, especially in Words Fail Me, Encore and closer This House Has No Living Room. But it is in their heavier moments that Yak truly come alive.

Blinded By the Lies is a good old fashioned rock-out with a sense of urgency and relentless riffs. White Male Carnivore is driven by a single-tone bass line while vocalist Oliver Henry Burslem rants epically over the top, until the track takes a huge turn and we end up screaming along to ‘The Whole World In His Hands’. Pay Off vs. The Struggle is a prog-like number, taken along yet again by a funk-laden bass line.

This is by no means a perfect album, and some of the tracks do say in places, but there is enough quality here to make it worth spending 40 minutes of your time with.

Release date: 08 February 2019

Rating: 7.5/10

Standout track: Bellyache

For fans of:

  • Holy Doom
  • Warmduscher
  • Black Sabbath

Listen on Spotify

Album of the Week: Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – De Facto

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete - De Facto album cover

My first new album review of 2019 is one that I was initially unsure about and nearly didn’t make the cut, but I’m very glad I gave it another try.

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete are a male/female duo hailing from Mexico and De Facto is their fifth album. It’s a glorious mix of pop, psych, indie, post-rock with shoegaze overtones that can send you off onto a hypnotic journey you don’t ever want to end.

The album starts with Ana, an almost-tantric hypnotic chanting track overlaid with ominous bass-heavy synth leading into desolate twisted guitars. This interruption of songs with distorted mind-blowing guitars becomes a bit of a theme throughout the album, and not one that is unwelcome.

There are some straight-out psych rock efforts with dreamy interludes such as on Acción and Resistir – the airy vocals of singer Lorena Quintanilla nicely breaking up the heavier tendancies of husband Alberto González. There are more poppy tracks, such as the disco-groove laden Líneas En Hojas, which would sound a lot like Saint Etienne if it wasn’t for the gorgeous scuzzy guitars filling up the latter part of the song.

There are also some proper wig-outs to be had. Unificado has the desert ‘trip’ feel similarly invoked by The Doors’ This is the End before melding into a shoegaze epic. Lux Lumina offers minimalistic dream-pop that launches into a marvelous full-on maximum feedback sonic assault.

In my view they saved the best until last with La Maga, a 10-minute slow build track that morphs into a wonderfully hypnotic synth-backed guitar groove that just doesn’t ever stop – and gets better and better as it goes along.

A cracking start to the year!

Release dates: 11 January 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: La Maga

For fans of:

  • Low
  • The Limiñanas
  • The Doors

Listen on Spotify