Tackling self-importance, loss of identity, and numerous other topics, Bristol punk quintet The St. Pierre Snake Invasion have distilled their chaotic venom once again with second album, ‘Caprice Enchanté’.
Just as the title suggests, the record is one of polar opposites, swinging from punishing hardcore punk to vulnerable alternative rock in space of seconds.
Treading a fine line between an all out frenzy and breakneck hardcore, ‘The Safety Word Is Oklahoma’ opens the record with a vicious bite. Pushing not only their own boundaries but also those of modern day hardcore, guitarists Szack Notaro and Patrick Daly writhe around Damien Sayell‘s commanding and feral bark.
As the record places itself within cycling guitar riffs and accent heavy drum beats, the group take a left turn with ‘Braindead’. With the guitar acrobatics taking a backseat, the track focuses on raw energy, delving into snarling attitude and a biting yet infectious chorus that sees the group’s live energy spill into the record.
Whilst The St. Pierre Snake Invasion are adept at bone rattling hardcore, as songs such as ‘Not All Who Wander Are Lost’ aptly prove, the charm of the group lies in their plethora of hooks and melody that sneaks around each track. Whether it’s winding guitars that run through the commanding ‘Pierre Brassau’, or the gospel inspired ‘It Gave A Lovely Night’.
With tracks such as the shoegaze driven ‘The Idiot’s Guide To Music’ and the frantic ‘Carroll A. Deering’ moving away from the bursts of aggression, drummer Sam James ties both songs into the record with his breakneck pace and intricate patterns. As they both unfold, it becomes clear that the group are comfortable moving away and around the limitations of hardcore punk with sincerity.
This isn’t to say that the group are moving away from the subgenre any time soon, as ‘Caprice Enchanté’ quickly pulls you back into a barrage of percussive growls and irregular structures, all tied together by a chorus that’s meant to be screamed.
Ending the record with the tentative ‘I Am The Lonely Tourist’, the group move through creeping chords and sparse vocals, heading towards an exploding coda that fights against growled vocals and melodic instrumentation.
As the chaos rings out, The St. Pierre Snake Invasion has piled everything into the record. With multiple moments that demand attention and cohesive transitions between influences, ‘Caprice Enchanté’ stands as one of the strongest releases of 2019 so far.