Despite many attesting to their continuous brilliance, it could be said that The St Pierre Snake Invasion have been dealt a particularly cruel hand. Even with the group being the subject of a devoted following, for the past several years the Bristolian bruisers have contentiously been a common staple within the thousands of ‘X Best Underrated Bands’ articles that are still being lifelessly exhaled into the aether that is the alternative music press. A bittersweetly frustrating accolade to be lauded with, one that the band have wrestled with during the past several years. However, such a fight is about to end in a KO. The group have returned with a new statement; one that demands attention, is impossible to be ignored, and above all else, is absolutely deafening.
In true vein of the band, there’s no tenderness or subtly within this release and nor is there a formal introduction. Whilst this is to be expected, Saint Pierre have surpassed all expectations with Caprice Enchantè. ‘The Safety Word Is Oklahoma’ opens the album like a haymaker of a sucker punch, with it’s berserking fretwork and possessed vocals harking back to acts such as The Dillinger Escape Plan and Every Time I Die at their absolute prime. Arresting, manically violent and lyrically poignant, it’s the perfect mission statement for this release, one that captures and foreshadows the events yet to come within this release.
As the record diverges from the bludgeoning groove and punch drunk dizziness of ‘Remystery’ to the confrontational punk sensibilities of ‘Braindead’, it’s crystal that The St Pierre Snake Invasion have miraculously evolved with Caprice Enchantè. Whilst their respective full length debut A Hundred Years A Day was a blistering and relentless slab of hyperactive punk dynamism, this record is a far more considered, focused and predatory beast. Much like the aforementioned Dillinger and Every Time I Die, Saint Pierre have become one of those incredibly rare and authentic bands who sound violently and spontaneously incendiary whilst retaining a sense of considered and meticulously planned focus. Yes, on the surface Caprice Enchantè is violent and dangerously unpredictable but when analysed deeply it’s a deeply contemplative offering, one that’s tediously been constructed over the course of countless hours. Every second within this release has been considered, contemplated and engineered in order to project the group’s cynical and bleak ideology perfectly.
Of course, it wouldn’t be The St Pierre Snake Invasion without the stark, sharp and sneering lyricism. Caprice Enchantè is the product of frustration with right wing policies, cynicism towards ego and gentrification, personal insecurity and inner turmoil. Behind the volcanic and explosive vocal onslaughts of Damien Sayell lies poignant and deeply contemplated statements. The suffocating sandstorm of noise that is ‘Casanovacaine’ documents the pointless futility of life, the hulking primordial sludge of ‘Omens’ explores the notion of perceiving the success of others as ones own failure and the deranged riffs of the title track explore the perpetual inner battles we all fight and ultimately lose. It’s raw, insecure uncomfortably personal and a record that never shy’s away from the documenting the unpleasant characteristics we all harbour.
Whilst their debut could have been labelled as punk, to attempt to pigeon-hole this release would not just be impossible, it would be criminal. The scope of this record is not only ambitious, it’s grandiose. To say band the band probe and explore various genres with this release would be an utter fallacy; the more correct term would be defile. The record weaponises elements of bludgeoning groove, corrosive noise rock, convoluted math tinged acid jazz, nightmarish doom and even Gregorian chants and gospel to masterful and juxtaposing effect. It’s a record that laughs and sneers in the face of digestible convention and seeks to challenge listeners with angular and dichroic structures and sheer unpredictability. Every track within this release offers a new twist and turn, taking us further down the holistic hive-mind that band harbours. There really never is a dull moment within this release and when the record isn’t obnoxiously thrashing, it’s balancing on knife edge tension.
While Caprice Enchantè is undoubtedly going to set the scene they reside within alight, those loyal to the Bristolian scene may recognise a few hues from the band's local contemporaries within this release. The record enjoys and promotes the forward thinking attitudes and monumental heft synonymous with such bands as Idles and Oxygen Thief whilst simultaneously entertaining the progressive and originative dynamism employed by more emerging collectives such as Memory Of Elephants and Sugar Horse. The end result is a record that successfully achieves it's expansive ambitions and proves to be an album that shivers with authentic ingenuity and brilliant innovention.
To be put simply, this is an irresistibly arresting record that perfectly embodies the sneeringly cynical, progressive and ingenious nature of the band. It’s violently corrosive, intentionally challenging, obtuse and darkly jubilant. However, with it’s volcanic dynamism, stark sociopolitical and personal narrative it’s one of the most authentic records to be released this far this year. A savage soundscape of twisted peaks and shadowed valleys, It’s a record that rejects convention and demands both respect attention, for every consecutive listen reveals more substance. Whilst The St Pierre Snake Invasion have been festering within the underbelly of national scene, the time has come for them to truly impose their will on the population. Authentic and quintessential listening, a legitimate contender to be the undisputed album of the year.
Caprice Enchantè is out June 21st