Review Summary: Rough, dirty, energetic: The St. Pierre Snake Invasion found a niche between technical punk and post-hardcore, making a refreshing appearance in the top albums 2019 of those genres.
Have you ever looked at an album cover after listening to it and thought to yourself 'Damn, this fits just perfectly'? If you haven't, check out Caprice Enchanté by The St. Pierre Snake Invasion. This record hits you right in the face from front to back like the stage dive on its cover. However, it manages to add this tiny bit of uniqueness you need to turn things upside down and watch it from another perspective - just like a crowd surfing on your back.
If you happen to listen to this on vinyl for the first time, you might think you accidently started with side B, because The St. Pierre Snake Invasion (or TSPSI) won't give you time to prepare and start right into the album without any kind of intro. Especially the first half of this album is driven by fast drums, sharp, high pitched guitars and the contrast of a downtuned distorted bass. And then there's vocalist Damien Sayell who perfectly knows how to build tension and letting off steam, making this record a hell lot of fun. Aside from his sarcastic way of lyricism on songs like "Braindead" or "The Idiot's Guide to Music", it's the frantic power in his high pitched screams that remind me a lot of Fake History-era Jason Aalon Butler of letlive. - there aren't many people that know how to scream as powerful and nerve-racking like a banshee as these two guys. Additionally, in "Remystery" and "Things to do in Denbigh when you're dead", two highlights of the record, the explosion of Sayells calm voice suddenly changing into the sound of a beast makes me wanna listen to letlive.'s Day 54 again.
While the first half of this album is a fast paced sports car with a broken brake pedal, things get slower and heavier on the second half. Overall this album has more variety in store than I expected from a band that's considered to be punk, which adds a refreshing taste to the otherwise kinda stale post-hardcore and punk genre in 2019. One example is the short breather "It gave a lovely light", an 47 seconds a capella interlude to the shambling and sludgy "Omens", that creates an uncomfortable atmosphere through layering whispered and screamed lyrics together. After 41 minutes of chaos this record ends as surprising and unexpected as it started: "I am the lonely tourist" is the cliché attempt for a ballad as the title might indicate. However, for some reason it works out just fine. It may not be the best song on this record, but it is the one needed the most to slowly calm down again and be released into the real world without smashing things for no good reason.
Finally, I need to draw another comparison to letlive. but this time in a negative way. I remember being really pissed when letlive. released the follow-up to their glourious "Fake History" called "The Blackest Beautiful" mainly because they decided to record it with a rotten bunny carcass that has been ran over a few times. Well, what pissed me off the most was that "The Blackest Beautiful" wasn't even a bad record from a musical standpoint, it was solely the production that sucked even harder than Monica Lewinsky. What I am trying to say is: the production on this record is not as bad as "The Blackest Beautiful" but it is still kinda "rough" if you want to put it that way. Maybe that's because of a low budget, maybe it is intentionally - I don't know. But I do know that this record would be a serious contender for "Album of the Year" if the production would have been as sharp as something produced by Kurt Ballou (Converge & The Dillinger Escape Plan's "Dissociaton") or Will Putney (Vein, Night Verses, Every Time I Die). Furthermore there aren't any electronical elements or effects that would help to create a more dense atmosphere.
Which is fine, since this records excels in being rough, dirty and muddy like Trent Reznor when Nine Inch Nails played their famous Woodstock '94 gig. Coming to think of it, that would've made another epic album cover.