The millennium was around the corner, and things were changing fast. This was Sneaker Pimp’s first album without Kelli Ali vocals, and switching from a well established formula was a risky move, but in the end this became the start of a new era. I’m well aware that this was indeed one of their less successful albums, which gives me enough reasons to consider this as one of the truly underrated trip hop greatest albums out there.
The first noticeable change was of course, Chris Corner on the vocals. I have the opinion that his voice gives this album a complete different attitude than Becoming X with Kelli Ali’s voice. Corner’s vocals might not seem very confident in this album, as it was his first attempt as a front-man, and still managed to transmit a darker shade of emotions.
What is more interesting though, is not who is leading the vocals but the diverse repertoire of songs. I like how the alternative rock is blended with just the right amount of acoustic moments, without losing that trip hop vibe all the way through and the result is an album that feels dark and intriguing.
I will not hide the fact that I absolutely love Curl, it was like an epiphany waiting to happen the moment I came across it. The bad thing about it though, is that it is so good that the rest of the songs pale in comparison. And although that is not reason enough for not appreciating such a good song, you are left with the feeling that there must be something more than just that one. Unfortunately no other song in this album is in the same league, I’m afraid.
Speaking of the rest of the songs, Half Life is not bad actually. It’s a hybrid between the different styles that we can find separate through this album. It’s like an acoustic ballad with a little twist. Superbug on the other hand is just perfect when you are in need of some alternative rock, garage band like song. Destroying Angel and Empathy are however the kind of song that dominate this album.
Splinter as a whole is better suited for whenever you’re feeling like embracing some uncomplicated yet somewhat dark British garage rock album. The difference is that unlike more mainstream similar acts, this features many similarities with trip hop and some very subtle electronic elements, without losing the alternative rock package.
This album was the beginning of a new era, and while only one more record was released under the Sneaker Pimps name, Chris Corner continues to release new music with all the elements that made Sneaker Pimps so good under the name IAMX. If you are familiar with one and not the other, you’re missing on half of the fun.