With Weak taking the top spot as my all time favourite break up song, both on account of the terse musical arrangements and Skin’s mix of passion and anger in the vocals, and a handful of other songs which deserve far more acclaim than they’ve ever gained, Skunk are set a difficult task with Black Traffic. Yet they rise to this challenge and within minutes it’s clear that the band have once again delivered a stunning album with a mix of solid riffs that get under your skin, and powerful lyrical content that forces you to pay attention.
Whilst it’s always been Skin’s vocals which drew my attention, Black Traffic balances her emotion ridden sound, with music which is both immediate and enchanting, and for once I find myself drawn more towards the sound, than the lyrics. Opener I Will Break You though in some ways almost simplistic in sound has a sense of urgency which couples with Skin’s vocals to truly capture the energy which is so prominent in their live performances. It’s a song which is going get the mosh pits forming within seconds of a live airing, and this vibe continues into following tracks Sad, Sad, Sad and Spit You Out.
Generally speaking the album seems to have more a dance element laced amongst the heavy riffs which creates a frenzied vibe, giving it a driving force which seemed somewhat missing on Wonderlustre. Nevertheless, Skunk Anansie have always been masters of balancing their musically heavy numbers with lighter songs, placing emphasis on the vocals and it’s on the like of Hope You Get To Meet Your Hero that the sorrowful tones of Skin’s vocals really shine. It’s a perfectly placed track on the album, preventing it from becoming stagnant with more rocky vibes and capturing the bands capacity to capture emotion within their songs. The same can be said for closing track Diving Down only here you become more aware of the drum beat, and whilst elsewhere at times it becomes more of a background sound, here the drums feel like the driving force of the song.
For me it’s Sticky Fingers In Your Honey and I Believed In You which are the standout tracks of the album, both containing choruses which instantly hook you in. Nevertheless, there’s not a single song on the album which you’d want to bypass. Though I’d previously though Skunk Anansie might have begun to mellow, they’re back with gumption and a massive dollop of musical genius all wrapped up in the form of an album; an album, which deserves the same, if not more success than their works from the 90’s.