Skunk Anansie
Wonderlustre


3.5
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
September 17th, 2010 | 103 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A worthwhile reunion with a great shot at longevity.

For your average Joe and Jane; MyFace, Spacebook and Twatter have unfortunately made it easier to reunite with people that they have not seen in a while (most likely because they did not want to in the first place). In the music industry however, there is very good motivation for a band reunion to take place… The almighty dollar! With greater competition between music promoters and festivals nowadays, such organizers are having to think outside of the square to attract an audience… And it is band reunions which are currently very much in vogue. Hugely popular groups such as Rage Against The Machine, Blur, Faith No More, Blink 182, Van Halen and Jane’s Addiction have all recently reunited and made a fortune off of touring. Will these bands still be together in 3 years time? Will they have even released a new album? They did split up – or was it going “on hiatus” – for a reason, so it is fair to state that their re-appearance was significantly for bank balance purposes.

These ultra successful artists have a difficult time successfully reuniting for any length of time, since the spotlight is well and truly on them to meet extremely high expectations. In fact, it could be argued that relatively less auspicious bands have a greater probability of longevity, since funding one’s retirement is unlikely to be the paramount reason for their reunion. One such example appears to be distinctive English hard-rockers Skunk Anansie. Releasing three acclaimed - if inconsistent – albums in the mid to late nineties, the quartet quietly disbanded at the turn of the century, with each member playing rather low-key roles in other musical projects (the most notable being Mark Richardson drumming for Feeder for seven years). Now, a decade on, Skunk Anansie are back. Unhurried, the band has gone about things the correct way; A ‘Greatest Hits’ package containing three new tracks… Then some touring… And finally; a brand new album in ‘Wonderlustre’.

Those expecting Skunk Anansie to pick up right where they left off are going to be surprised – and possibly disappointed – with ‘Wonderlustre’ initially. There is a much more modernized sound exhibited here… And so it should be, since it is not 1999 anymore. The shaved head, six foot something black lead vocalist Skin (Deborah Dyer) may not have aged one bit, but she is clearly more content and less angry a decade on. Gone are the overt political and racial stances which permeated through their earlier work, even if the lyrics often retain the same darker edge behind the changed themes. Album highlight ‘Over The Love’ is evidence of a mature band in the here & now, with its soaring guitars and the LP’s best vocal hook. That is not to say Skunk Anansie are now a pop band. Lead single ‘My Ugly Boy’ and ‘Feeling The Itch’ contain the band’s trademark thick crunching guitar riffs and Skin’s assertive attention-getting vocals. The musicianship is as tight as ever on ‘Wonderlustre’, with everyone clearly on the same page.

One of Skunk Anansie’s greatest achievements over the first part of their career was the improvement they made on slower, vulnerable ballads. That progression is thankfully continued here with the strings-assisted ‘Talk Too Much’, heartfelt ‘You Saved Me’ and melodic ‘You Can’t Always Do What You Like’ delivering some of Skin’s most assured vocal performances yet! Following a decade long hiatus, one should expect some rust however, and it does eventuate that ‘Wonderlustre’ does not always get the balance quite right. They just cross the line into outright poppy territory on ‘The Sweetest Thing’, while the album’s mid-section probably could have done with everyone going berserk and revisiting their heavier roots just once. However, with not one track breaking the four minute barrier, it does result in Skunk Anansie’s most cohesive and consistent release to date.

In a sense, this is a difficult album to rate. Would ‘Wonderlustre’ be gaining as much praise if Skunk Anansie had released two or three albums between 1999’s ‘Post Orgasmic Chill’ and this? Probably not, but it is simply too difficult to ignore that this is the LP of a recently reunited band. It is a credit to this unique outfit that they have naturally evolved and remained relevant by not taking the easy way out and simply continuing where they left off, since that would have resulted in a dated recording. Furthermore, it is a brave progression to make since loyalists could be alienated, while a sufficient amount of new followers may not be won over. For that reason, ‘Wonderlustre’ will ultimately be a polarizing release, and one which will take many spins to get one’s head around. Those that remain patient however, will be rewarded… For ‘Wonderlustre’ proves that the reformation of Skunk Anansie is very much a worthwhile one… And a rare reunion with a great shot at longevity.

Recommended Tracks: Over The Love, Talk Too Much, Feeling The Itch & My Ugly Boy.



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user ratings (25)
Chart.
2.9
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was a tough review to write, so read it… Or else Skin will come and eat you:

[img]http://www.rarefm.co.uk/images/skin.jpg[/img]


Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2010


31368 Comments


Twatter?

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2010


7026 Comments


that was the only one of the three that worked

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah Dev, you know. Where the self-important write small messages thinking someone else cares.

As they say; One out of three ain't bad. Oh, hang on a tick...

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2010


31368 Comments


Oh, so its not a typo; okay I'm with you now. Spiffy review, summed up my feelings entirely, and who knows, maybe my higher rating than yours is just me being all nostalgic

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Oh, so its not a typo"

That's it... I'm blocking you. You're not cool with Grandpa Davey anymore. I don't make one typo, let alone 3 in one sentence.

"maybe my higher rating than yours is just me being all nostalgic"

Maybe, maybe not. Like I said in the review (& to you separately) it takes a while to get your head around this album. I suggest no-one (especially old fans) rate this after one or two listens. I could have given this a 3 & only rate it a 3.5 because I am being nostalgic. I doubt it though. I think it's because I like consistency... & this is an album that can be listened to from start to finish.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You heard their older stuff Chambered?

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Quick history lesson: Alternative hard rock... English. Bald black female singer who'd scare the living crap out of you... Used to have very political & racial lyrics... Broke up around 2000. Back now.

YouTube 'Skunk Anansie I Can Dream'. Probably one of my top 30 songs ever.

pizzamachine
September 17th 2010


12571 Comments


This history lesson brought to you by DaveyBoy.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

In Davey we trust.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Woh there horsey. You ain't goin anywhere near my oval office.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

We have prime minister's in Australia.

kangaroopoo
September 17th 2010


3175 Comments


One of Davey's alts is a leading flame-haired dame.

And yes, 'I Can Dream' was a great song.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Shhh. I can dream. I can dream. I can dream that I'm someone else.

I don't know where you came from kangaroopoo, but your liking of 'I Can Dream' just earnt you bonus points.

kangaroopoo
September 17th 2010


3175 Comments


I'll be your sailor girl. No, not really that's the opening line.

Selling Jesus is another good song.

I'll have to add 'Wonderlustre' to my already ridiculous backlog since lurking on Sputnik.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2010


7421 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Wow. There are so many things I disagree that I don't know where to start. The most cohesive and consistent record of theirs? Not even close. Post Orgasmic Chill was basically an excercise in consistency for me. An improvement on ballads also seems quite questionable since their first record contains some of their best. And yeah, sadly Skunk Anansie go poppier and more mainstream on this album.

Digging: Dope Body - Lifer

Gyromania
September 17th 2010


15941 Comments


For your average Joe and Jane; MyFace, Spacebook and Twatter

Haha, well done, Davey. Sometimes reunions are great and worthwhile, and other times they (for me), act as a reminder as to why it was best they went on hiatus in the first place. I can't really comment on this band, as I've only heard one song by them, and now I can't remember it for the life of me, but I think the lyrics were something along the lines of: "You want to do someone else/ so you should be by yourself".

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

STOP SHOUTING!
September 17th 2010


631 Comments


intro is great!

she gives me a headache.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2010


31368 Comments


what its where u work!


Kangaroo courts, not oval offices

AsoTamaki
September 17th 2010


2525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Holy hell. I had no idea this existed. Nothing they've done since has matched Paranoid & Sunburnt for me, but this is definitely worth a listen, I'm sure. Good review.



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