Sneaker Pimps
Splinter


3.5
great

Review

by MassiveAttack USER (91 Reviews)
December 22nd, 2009 | 12 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Corner is the right choice on this album, but with more than enough material to go along with a new direction of acoustic musicality, Splinter eventually breaks apart at its core.

There have been major pitfalls in a band's career when they change directions after their debut, disembarking the very thing they were known for something entirely different. The Sneaker Pimps' sophomore album Splinter ditched the trippy-exotic tinged female vocals of Kelli Dayton (performs under Kelli Ali now) and move forward with their founding members Chris Corner and Liam Howe, where Corner took the voice of the band. Splinter doesn't entirely shift into unknown territory for a once-tagged trip-hop band, as Archive's sensational debut Londinium changed their sound completely on their 2nd effort, while it may have been a step down for that band - The Sneaker Pimps show promise.

If there's one thing that can be concentrated for any trip-hop band is generally the more successful groups tread within a dark atmosphere, imploring a foothold within the listener with their sound. Howe and Corner's use from Becoming X to Splinter isn't entirely earth-shattering in terms of their movement from their '96 release. Their debut showed the gloomy side of things in songs like "Low Place Like Home" or "Tesko Suicide", but Splinter alters its sound at the forefront. Acoustic instrumentation is key on Splinter, but the electronic needle is still very much in the vein of the music. A clear touchstone for the band's previous work starts predictably and enjoyably on "Superbug", but does it not feel out of place" A tad I'd say, but its electronic reliance is toned down as Corner charges on the track.

You know how you realize that an album may be too long for its own good" Well Splinter has points in its listing to prove my point. "Flowering and Silence" may have a well-developed beat, but clearly the lack of bass is hurting, if not boring me too death as Corner tries to hold out the song on piano keys and tiresome drum cycles. I'm bit overly harsh, but once Splinter sinks its teeth into you with "Half Life" and "Low Five", which use violins, piano, and an ever-increasing dark, yet energetic mood that is pushed through with Corner, it eventually becomes such a low point thinking you're hearing it as a repeat in the middle of the album. While other songs seem to teeter on its electronic influences and the band's new direction with an acoustic guitar in "Splinter" it may seem a bit overdone on this 14-track ride.

Corner's vocal work is exceptional considering this would be his first endeavor in the forefront, something he hasn't put down since taking the helm here. And while I come back to my point of the tiresome formula that may be crawling its way back into the middle of the album, it sticks with the band here and there. "Cute Sushi Lunches" is unfortunately brought down by its previous track. Its constant pauses between musical flow and Corner's brooding voice isn't as good as one would expect. Splinter shows its weakness in that its vocals aren't average or mediocre in any way, but with a mostly solid to excellent instrumentation from acoustics to synthesizers, Corner becomes the problem, it may just feel monotonous for some and unfortunately for most by the end of Splinter you may feel yourself a bit worn-out.



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user ratings (37)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MassiveAttack
December 22nd 2009


2754 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I couldn't sleep so I put my insomnia to good use.



If you're interested in this listen to these:



Half Life

Low Five

Lightning Field

Superbug

Splinter

RobotFrank
December 22nd 2009


344 Comments


Not gonna find many takers around here on this one probably, but I love Sneaker Pimps - especially Bloodsport. IAMX (Corner solo) is great also. Enjoyed the review.

Roach
December 22nd 2009


2148 Comments


yeah sneaker pimps are cool

good review polovina

AggravatedYeti
December 22nd 2009


7684 Comments


woo a MassiveAttack review!

This is one of those bands I always knew about, but never got into, and always figured I should. For the debut's tie to trip hop at least.

MassiveAttack
December 22nd 2009


2754 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

heh yea, a MassiveAttack sighting. I liked the debut a lot and this pushes that direction in the back and moves to a more acoustic, darker tone lyrical melodies with Corner taking the mic now. Its enjoyable, didn't expect to like it immediately, but the first 3 songs are superb.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
December 22nd 2009


8573 Comments


"Cute Sushi Lunches" is unfortunately brought down by its previous track. Its constant pauses between musical flow and Corner's brooding voice isn't as good as one would expect.
dunno if that part is really necessary, but overall nice review man. Tis' not my cup though, as you already know.

MassiveAttack
December 22nd 2009


2754 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Always bringing me down. Damn those Estonians!

Metalstyles
Emeritus
December 23rd 2009


8573 Comments


Always bringing me down.
ahh don't perpend, just trying to be helpful :-)
Damn those Estonians!
yeah there's a whole bunch of them on this site y'know ;)


BobbbyLight
December 28th 2009


76 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Lightning Field is probably one of my favorite Sneaker Pimp's tracks but overall this CD is a let down. I wish Chris and Kelli could get along because Becoming X was fucking fantastic.

MassiveAttack
December 28th 2009


2754 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yes I do agree with that point. I have their entire discography at 3.5. Even Bloodsport was good, but the differences are marginal to me. Becoming X and Splinter are almost entirely devoid of each others charms, but they are still great in their own right. I'm curious why did you rate this so low?

BobbbyLight
December 29th 2009


76 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I was never able to get into this one for whatever reason. I liked a couple of songs (Lighting Fields, Low Five and Half Life) but the rest just feel very flat to me. I'd give Bloodsport a 3, I think overall it was a better album track to track. I probably have Becoming X at a 4.5. Kelli Ali and Chris were fantastic together and I don't think that either have captured their joint brilliance as solo artists.

Valixous
June 29th 2013


71 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is so different to the first album. So much more dark and serious. So delicately composed and incredibly well

written lyrics. Severely underrated album. Really dense, lush composition. Half Life and Wife By Two Thousand are

standout tracks.



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