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Skunk Anansie: Smashes & Trashes

Album Reviews:

Q (Magazine) (p.137) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[C]omprehensive....They had their moments of spring-heeled songwriting."

Album Notes

Following reunions from the likes of Shed Seven, Cast, and Dodgy, Skunk Anansie are the latest midtable '90s alternative act to jump on the comeback bandwagon. Unlike their fellow revivalists, whose Brit-pop sound is firmly entrenched in the bygone era of Cool Britannia, the Camden Town scene, and six o'clock news chart battles, Skunk Anansie's anarchic but melodic pop/rock has actually aged surprisingly well. Indeed, their influence has been pretty evident throughout the noughties, from the uncompromising image of the Gossip's Beth Ditto, to the multicultural genre-defying sounds of Nneka and Santogold, to the blistering angst of Florence and the Machine. Released to coincide with their first tour in ten years, Smashes & Trashes compiles 12 of their 13 chart singles (controversial debut single "Little Baby Swastikkka" doesn't make the cut), four apiece from their three studio albums, Paranoid and Sunburnt, Stoosh, and Post-Orgasmic Chill. Highlighting their impressive ability to appeal to the Kerrang!, NME, and Top of the Pops crowds, the band's first greatest-hits collection also showcases the talents of arguably one of the most striking frontwomen of the 90s, Skin, the shaven-headed androgynous vocalist who was capable of both intimidating ferociousness ("Charlie Big Potato") and aching heartbreak ("Brazen"), sometimes both at the same time ("Charity"). Indeed, for a band that burst onto the scene with such intensity, it was a revelation that Skunk Anansie sounded just as convincing on the epic ballads, such as the emotionally stirring string-laden "Secretly" and their most radio-friendly offering, the stunningly beautiful "Hedonism," as they did on the bass-driven metal of "Selling Jesus" and "I Can Dream." Alongside the familiar material, there are also three previously unreleased tracks, the energetic punk of "Tear the Place Up," the Muse-esque "Because of You," and the tender acoustic-led "Squander," all of which whet the appetite for a rumored new studio album. A consistently powerful collection of songs, Smashes & Trashes is a welcome reminder that Skunk Anansie, often unfairly overlooked in the annals of '90s rock, are undoubtedly one of the genre's most original and compelling acts. ~ Jon O'Brien


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