If there’s one thing Skunk Anansie is not, it’s dull. Any band that describes their style of music as “clit-rock” can pretty much be guaranteed not to bore.
The first time I heard Skunk was on an HMV sampler tape that my friend gave me in about 1999. I put it in my yellow Sony Walkman when I went for a walk, pressed play, and had my eardrums blown up. The song I listened to was Charlie Big Potato, and I finished my walk in record time. I bought their latest album Post Orgasmic Chill immediately after and nearly wore it out. I followed their career after that, but for whatever reason I never listened to their older material in any depth. Their newer albums have gotten much more poppy and less edgy, so I wanted to go back to their very first album and give it a thorough re-listen.
Paranoid and Sunburnt came out in 1994 with Skin on vocals, Cass on bass, Ace on guitar, and Mark on drums. Its mix of punk, funk, rock, metal, and reggae was an immediate success in their native Britain and beyond. This paragraph from Wikipedia sums up their reception:
In 1995 they were voted Best New British Band by the readers of Kerrang! magazine…Soon after that, two of their songs, “Feed” and “Selling Jesus”, appeared on the soundtrack of the film Strange Days. Success continued and they were also voted Kerrang!‘s Best British Live Act in 1996. In 1997 they were nominated for Best Live Act and Best Group at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
One thing I like about them is that they manage to have diverse hobbies and tastes outside of the band. Skin is a model and one-time interior designer; Ace is a record producer and teaches workshops at some of the world’s top performance institutions; Cass’ career got its start with, of all people, Terrence Trent D’Arby; and Mark is a passionate bike rider who has completed multiple mega-rides such as the Enduro Africa (2,500km) and Experience Africa (1,500km – twice) for charity. It doesn’t make them better, but I dunno, it just seems cool that they all have such diverse lives outside of being rock stars.
They were going strong up until 2001 when they broke up, but reformed in 2009, and have released two albums since then. Their politics and racial diversity has been hard to miss in many of their songs, and even in real life (Skin is married to the daughter of an American Republican billionaire). This is readily apparent on Paranoid and Sunburnt, with titles such as “Intellectualise My Blackness” and “Little Baby Swastikkka.”
From what I remember, this is an album best listened to LOUD with good headphones, so put away the tea cozies and go for a run or hit the gym, and enjoy the listen.
Paranoid and Sunburnt on iTunes
Skunk Anansie’s website (not much there, but they do have a good presence on social media)
Skunk Anansie on Facebook
Mark on Instagram
Skin on Instagram
Ace on Instagram