Post Orgasmic Chill

Skunk Anansie

Virgin Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Skunk Anansie is the kind of band that will spark one of two reactions in you. The first is an instant attraction to their music and the dark realism of their music and lyrics. The other is a gape-mouthed, wide-eyed, "What the hell's that!?!?" stare. Beats that could have come right off of a techno record with the lyrical intensity of Nine Inch Nails, all delivered by a cross between Tracy Chapman and Me'Shell Ndegocello's vocal style?

Believe it, buckeroo - Skunk Anansie's third album Post Orgasmic Chill is that kind of a record. Unfortunately, they're not able to keep that level of energy or excellence going throughout this record, resulting in a disc that smacks of what could have been.

The band - vocalist Skin, guitarist Ace, bassist Cass and drummer Mark (boy, is it easy to type these things when no last names are used) - transcends any simple pigeonholing you might want to use regarding their music. Take the lead-off single "Charlie Big Potato": one minute, you're listening to beats that could have been culled from a techno record; the next minute, you're surrounded by riffs and beats that border on alternative rock. It's a twisting, turning ride that rivals any roller coaster you can board.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

And while it's sometimes difficult to decipher what Skin is saying (even with a lyric sheet - which has a bit of a bizarre layout), tracks like "On My Hotel T.V." send the ride into overdrive vocally. The verbal assault laid down by Skin is a scathing attack both on the labels that can be attached on someone, and the way life on the road can grind someone down.

The difficulty with Post Orgasmic Chill is that Skunk Anansie is not able to sustain that level of intensity for long without some degradation of the sound. While tracks like "The Skank Heads," "Good Things Don't Always Come To You" and "And This Is Nothing That I Thought I Had" do shine, other tracks like "Tracy's Flaw," "You'll Follow Me Down" and "Cheap Honesty" just don't live up to the expectations that Skunk Anansie build up for themselves.

It also takes a bit of time for the musical twists and turns to become natural-sounding to the listener. The first time I tried listening to this disc, it actually overpowered me to the point that I had to turn it off and walk away from it for a day or two. With a little investment of time and effort, Skunk Anansie's style begins to sound natural.

I don't know if the domestic version of this disc will contain it, but the U.K. release (which is what I have to work with) contains an interactive section that includes not only insights on the songs from the band themselves and the now perfunctory Web link, but also the video for "Charlie Big Potato," which is a bizarre trip. Be ye warned.

Post Orgasmic Chill is an intense portrait of a band that demands you accept them on their own terms. If only they were able to maintain a high level of excellence on all their music, this album could have been a juggernaut - but to create any album that powerful is difficult.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Virgin Records, and is used for informational purposes only.