Infamous “clit-rockers” Skunk Anansie are back, this time stepping away from the grunge of their earlier music and exploring a more refined sound with Anarchytecture. An interesting album which is as ice-cool as it is playful, it never really lives up to its anarchist-inspired title but instead presents a suite of sexy, slinky, dark songs. Menacing guitars are mixed up with soaring vocals and given a fresh glam-rock twist, whilst still staying true to the band’s punk origins.
The grinding guitar work of songs like Victim or Bullets definitely recalls the grit and fire of their earlier work, but a new kind of sound is embedded deep in the relentless rhythm of the album. Opening track Love Someone Else starts the album off with a thumping, disco-esque beat which continues throughout, as well as centring the album’s focus firmly on lead singer Skin’s husky, sensual vocals. Amongst the menacing guitars and industrial-style beats there are also some beautiful moments here: Death to the Lovers is an emotionally wrenching track which, through its strident tempo, still manages to keep the album’s momentum forward-rolling. Closing track I’ll Let You Down also comes as an unexpected ballad, swapping the vicious guitars for a gentler sound.
Clocking in at just under forty minutes, the album never drags, but instead comes across as a blaze of energy: although Skunk Anansie are definitely exploring a slicker aesthetic on Anarchytecture, it still retains all of the raw intensity of their earlier music.