The St Pierre Snake Invasion – ‘Galore’

By Aaron Jackson

Bands like The St Pierre Snake Invasion are tricky to introduce. The Bristolian five-piece have always exercised an uncompromising approach to their craft and with this comes an admirable reticence to adhere to any one genre or scene. Of course, they have perfunctory ties to hardcore, punk, noise etc. but these descriptors wouldn’t do justice to a band that take pride in their uniqueness. The release of their third full-length album, ‘Galore’, sees the band once again diversify their sound in new and exciting ways.

Wasting no time, it takes all of about 15 seconds for opening track ‘Kracked Velvet’ to detonate. There’s a certain comfort to hearing The St Pierre Snake Invasion back in their pomp. The highlights of their discography are those moments of unbridled catharsis, whether that be the whirlwind ‘Casanovacaine’ on 2019’s ‘Caprice Enchanté’ or as far back as ‘Rock ‘n’ roll Workshops’ from 2015’s debut ‘A Hundred Years a Day’, it’s in their DNA. Now established masters of the boisterous, ‘Kracked Velvet’ is the perfect introduction to this most recent effort.

By contrast, the album’s second track juxtaposes that busy precedent; ‘Midas’ is poised and expansive, propped up by a shotgun drum beat from Pete Reisner that doesn’t budge for the duration of the song. There is an absence of the customary guitars tuned down to god-knows-what, instead, preferred are curious plinks and plonks on some keys which introduces a gorgeous texture to the piece. In allowing the brashness to take a temporary backseat, there is a wealth of space on ‘Midas’ in which a rich ambience is cultivated and welcomed to bed in as the song’s quiet focal point.

It’s these moments of restraint that cement ‘Galore’ as TSPSI’s most precise work to date. Another fine example of how this band can still devastate while in a state of reserve is on ‘Apex Prey’. Here, the vocals sparkle largely thanks to the contributions of Sang Froid’s Aisling Whiting whose delicacy compliments frontman Damien Sayell’s natural coarseness. The pairing of these two vocal stylings, particularly on the refrain of “You count your blessings, I count the days” is beautiful and haunting in equal measure; dichotomous yet perfectly executed.

Whiting features again on the album’s title track to similar effect, however, ‘Galore’ grants more of a licence to stretch and contort, eventually climbing to a breakneck conclusion with yet another head-spinning riff. ‘To Sleep Well’ also features a guest vocalist, this time in the form of Sugar Horse’s Ashley Tubb who expertly bolsters Sayell in delivering another powerhouse performance.

Upon the drop of the first taste of TSPSI’s return with the exceptional lead single ‘Submechano’, the band had a back and forth with Sugar Horse on Twitter, describing the guitar tones on the record better than any reviewer ever could:

Indeed, the sounds emitting from the instruments of Patrick Daly, Szack Notaro and Sanjay Patel are unique and bring a distinct flavour to the album. The “techno space fart” analogy is particularly apt upon hearing the most recent single on offer ‘That There’s Fighting Talk’. Euphemisms aside, the guitar performances throughout this album are an integral component of its overall brilliance. Jagged and spiky, these riffs will give even the most seasoned of you headbangers whiplash.

Speaking of which, there are of course plenty of upcoming opportunities to do just that. Soon to be embarking on a slew of shows up and down the UK, eventually culminating in a much-anticipated slot at this year’s 2000 Trees festival, it won’t be long before TSPSI bring ‘Galore’ to the live stage. No doubt it’s in this environment that these songs will truly flourish. As mentioned previously, the value of sonic catharsis through this band’s music cannot be overstated. With ‘Galore’, The St Pierre Snake Invasion have managed to experiment and evolve all the while keeping a firm grip on what makes them so much fun to listen to in the first place. Just one of many factors that render this album their finest to date.

AARON JACKSON

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