Album review: Skunk Anansie - Anarchytecture
PUBLISHED: 13:11 10 January 2016
The '90s alt-rock outsiders soldier on, with the odd direct hit, writes Stephen Moore.
That Skunk Anansie still inhabit a rarefied spot in the global music scene some 20 years after hitting paydirt with Paranoid And Sunburnt is remarkable in itself.
But six albums in, the pop-metal outsiders have struggled to match their early musical dynamism.
Thanks to singer Skin, though – the enigmatic, black, glamorous, gay frontwoman with a voice that bridges gut-wrenching power and gossamer fragility – they remain a compelling prospect. After all, who else upsets the stereotypical all-white, all-male hard-rock applecart like her?
With guitar riffs wrapped in dancefloor beats and silken synths (mischievous opener Love Someone Else), the album reveals some slightly underwhelming dancefloor chops, and there’s no new Weak or Hedonism to thrill to or drool over.
But between the misfires, Anarchytecture heaves and soars with striking ballads and gritty, industrial rock.
Beauty Is Your Curse channels some of their early verve and spittle, buzzsaw guitar lines charging the chorus as Skin belts out a surefire moshpit favourite.
Synth ballad Death To The Lovers is a vehicle for Skin’s stunning vocal delicacy while the stadium-chant might of Bullets and militaristic stomp of We Are The Flames are good, if not great, hard rock slabs.
Solid in parts but forgettable in others, Skin’s sparkle isn’t quite enough on its own.
Rating: 2/5 stars