On Snapped Ankles’ most danceable-yet-cynical album to date, no societal stereotype is safe from cross-examination.
Times are tougher, East London is increasingly gentrified, and Snapped Ankles have returned to deliver their most danceable yet extrospectively cynical album to date. No societal stereotype is safe from cross-examination. At each end of the pyramid of biophilia – from hedgefund managers (The Business Imp) to Extinction Rebellion diehards (The Protestor), the desires and anxieties of the human collective are wielded and conveyed by the band within a hypnotic, feverish sonic collage.
After establishing their frantic kraut-rock format over the past four years, Forest Of Your Problems sees Snapped Ankles embrace the revival of the saxophone whilst shifting away from more preliminary percussion. Leaning more heavily on electronic elements, each untamed track has a distinct level of grandiose energy that has previously been unreached.
Avoiding monotony must be harder than it seems on synth-led bops, but somehow Snapped Ankles seem to maintain a level of anticipation and intensity that few others in the current scene can pull off. Titular and stand out track ‘Forest Of Your Problems’ exemplifies the full breadth of musical elements that the band can adeptly merge together – elements entangle and fracture into one another, mirroring the unwavering 21st-century problems that the lyrics allude to.
“It’s a great time to be alive, if only you’ve got some funds”, opens ‘Shifting Basslines Of The Cornucopians’, a track that, along with ‘The Evidence’, provides urgent thrums that evoke the underground-warehouse-party roots of Snapped Ankles’ origins. The bursting electroclash grooves, feverish percussion and undulating synths encourage an incessant toe tapping that almost makes you ignore the ironic shutdown of the modern-day reliance on biomimetics. Contrastingly, tracks such as the instrumental ‘Susserations (In The Forest)’ and ‘Psithurhythm’ (which honestly sounds like the members of Scalping and Pottery formed a supergroup) are shrouded in ominous tones that ensure the album remains grounded.
The best is left to (nearly) last- ‘Xylophobia’, conforms to the popular observation that the longest songs on albums are always the best. Suggesting that even when the most holistic methods for dealing with modern flaws are inadequate (“I’ll put out the recycling in the contrived wilderness of self-help, in the forest of problems”), it addresses the need to overcome our abandonmentl of nature in order to face our own man made crises. Forest Of Your Problems is, overall, considerably more refined than their previous outings, and whilst the fervour remains, packaged into a synth-pop exterior, some of the grunge (and ghillie suits) have been shed. The era of the pinstripe suit may be here to stay. Undoubtedly, this refreshed sound, combined with the druid outlook, is likely to have a wider appeal – especially to those that, in the post-lockdown era, now hold a greater appreciation for the nature which surpasses their houseplant collection.
Forest Of Your Problems is out today via The Leaf Label. For more info on records and tour dates, click here. Image by Laura Lewis