Sneaker Pimps - Splinter

2010-01-13 | |

The new Millennium was about to arrive. The first waves of the Y2K hysteria were beginning to show, and it had been a year since Sneaker Pimps had asked singer Kelli Dayton to leave so they wouldn't fall foul of being compared to Portishead. Admittedly, it was a wise move, since Becoming X had sounded suspiciously close to the realms of Portishead. Still, as 1999 rolled onwards, they released a new album, fronted by Chris Corner, Splinter.

The difference between Portishead and Sneaker Pimps became really noticeable when Chris Corner took up vocals. The songs sounded so different with a male vocalist, but, still, in the background the trip-hop remained. In its own way, that's what mattered. It didn't need the difference between Corner and Dayton, because in the end, the music was so different that it stood out in its own way.

It borders on electronica. It borders on pop at points, but it's still dark enough to warrant being reasonably downtempo. The tracks on this album are amongst my favourites done by Sneaker Pimps. The follow-up, Bloodsport would end up sounding like a proto-IAMX, Corner's current project. The previous album had only been a stepping stone. This was true musicianship. This was a final fuck-you to the decade. Hell, if we were all going to die out in some Y2K related mishap, then this album would have been testament to the brilliance of our minds - Remember when we sent Coldplay and Bowie or whatever into space, well, we should really have sent Sneaker Pimps - Low Five.

Personally, I think this is not only the soundtrack of a generation; summing up the end of the nineties with its grunge and its hardcore, its jungle and its dying post-punk acts, but it's also the soundtrack for a new generation, one brought up in recession and war and hate. It's dark, but it's not depressing. It's disco, if the mirrorball wasn't working and the bouncer didn't look like he wanted to kill you.

Going out on a limb, it's probably Chris Corner's best work. It has its weak moments, yes, but, it's got a good mix on it in a way that many albums don't seem to think about. I fail to get bored by it. It's beautiful, but hardly ever talked about. It is to the world of albums what Yeats' Cloths of Heaven is to the world of poetry.

Overall: 8/10 - It's dark, it's highly underrated as an album, and it deserves the recognition that it should have had a decade ago.

Top Track: Low Five

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