We Brits are a bloody cynical bunch or whatever. Damian Sayell—vocalist of Bristol’s hometown heroes The St Pierre Snake Invasion —has talked up his lyrical themes of crushed adolescent dreams, hating his music, ideations of success, or falling self-identity. The fact of the matter is, he’s here and hopefully very wrong, taking us cruising for a bruising with this third album that puts some much-missed Galore back into underground UK music.
Experiencing an extensive and ever-changing line up of local Brizzle talent, they’ve gradually honed even more gusto in the instrumentals department. Here, it’s like the studio is the stage of a popular watering hole, prime for the wrecking, and that ballistic approach has a beloved noughties sound to it. It’s a reminder of the alternative twinge that peeked through the chart-topping indie and garage rock resurgence (which, in itself, was quite rogue for popular music). Take early Biffy’s mathy left-field takes, the angry and artsy Reuben dudes, HECK’s garishly brash metallic hardcore, Mike Duce trying his hardest to not name an album Fuck You, or even Gnarwolves talking a lot about having beers: each shifted from the clean to dirty at the drop of a hat, holding the thing together with a through-line of hilarious swagger. Building on this attitude, TSPSI have brought valuable experience to complete their most crushing collection at home on Church Road Records, with a gutsy, grubby sound dripping all over.
Opener Kracked Velvet gets the sporadic plinking underway on both drums and guitar neck, through into raging distortion. There’s Every Time I Die’s mangled blues-in-a-blender leads, vocals portraying Greg Puciato vehemence—with more smirking than (literal) shit-smeared aggression—and its clicked finger/bass interlude sounds like a playful jig, violently refashioned into Mr Blonde’s sardonic dance before cutting off that policeman’s ear. There’s similar threats throughout, not just the title of That There’s Fighting Talk which gets the noggin whizzing around with a bizarre slide riff at its heart and rhymes “I talk about violence too much / hands in the fire of the sanguine rush”, but even the less bombastic Apex Prey provides an eerie menace with staccato piano hits.
TSPSI’s own brand of fucked melodies over low-end heavy grooves are always playful though, whether through quick-thinking chord changes or vocal delivery. A simple beat combines with echoey melancholic washes on Midas, while there’s a tom-thumped pace underneath Sayell’s drawl on the title track which would be akin to a pub drunk wearily boring the Monday night crowd if it wasn’t so tuneful. The gloom threatens to break free into explosive mathy metal fare multiple times, and eventually it just can’t stop itself. In a similar vein, Submechano’s up-and-down staircase riffs sound tuned all wrong to induce maximum wince-face, pulling out the juicy gain attack that has the charisma of a wild goose let loose in the farmhouse. Its explosive finale could see 2023’s list of chef kiss breakdowns.
There’s always acts that bring to mind earlier day visits to The Fighting Cocks or similar venues: to see a band bring a barrage of punky, fun-loving mess, then translate it perfectly to a sold out Donington stage. Undercurrent local scenes can be hard to come by with music so accessible, but Galore by a band as whimsically named as The St Pierre Snake Invasion is just as much the overtly strange, thrilling alternative music of old, perfected into a sound to fit the here and now. Now, time to get to a local boozer and bang your head with this to soundtrack the before, during and after, If you can still handle barely-relenting rage on a hangover, that is.
For fans of: HECK, Jamie Lenman, Pulled Apart By Horses
‘Galore’ by The St Pierre Snake Invasion is released on 21st April on Church Road Records.
Words by Elliot Burr