Skunk Anansie was formed in 1994 and gained notoriety with their powerful rock hit “Selling Jesus”. I was hooked right away and bought it on cassette. Lead singer (Skin) has a captivating voice that can be both terrifying and beautiful over the scope of a few lines. The album challenged issues of sexism, religion and race, making it a compelling listen.
The band broke up in 2001, and then re-formed in 2009. To be honest I didn’t listen to anything after their second album (Stoosh). The once poignant range now seemed contrived and calculated.
With 2012’s “Black Traffic”, I wasn’t sure of what to expect from the band that I had abandoned a long time ago. Would they have changed in with the times, or would they stick to their signature style? Come to find out, it’s a little bit of both.
The album kicks off with the heavy “I will break you” which would not have sounded out of place with their debut offering. Some of the vocals seem a bit misplaced, as if they belonged in another song but it’s a decent opener.
“Sad Sad Sad” has a lot of momentum and a really straightforward chorus that I can see myself humming along to. This song feels contemporary.
“I hope you get your hero” is uninspired radio-bait as if it were on alt-rock radio in the mid 2000’s. As this is the lead single, it’s not the kind of thing that’s going to grab anyone.
The rest of the album is equally uneven, with the band feeling like they really WANT to rock out, but never quite reaching their full potential. Stand out tracks include “Satisfied?” and “This is not a game” .
Overall, it’s a decent effort, and existing fans will probably dig it. It’s not going to set the world on fire though.
SONGS TO ADD TO A PLAYLIST: Sad Sad Sad, Satisfied?