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Come Play The Trees
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  • Photographer: Kasia Wozniak.
  • In an age when the Internet allows hitherto unattainable access to musicians' professional and personal lives, Snapped Ankles' mystique is magnetic. The identities of the four key bandmembers remains unknown, because of their unwillingness to share them and the ghillie suits they wear when performing. So far, so Goat, but their music soon exposes this comparison as lazily reductive. Although it's possible to discern touches of psych-rock throughout Come Play the Trees, musically Snapped Ankles dive deeper into Krautrock and art/post-punk. Equally, whereas Goat revel in voodoo vibes, Snapped Ankles' aesthetic is more closely aligned with paganism. Curiously, Snapped Ankles match their verdant appearance with a cacophony of electronic experiments, to often thrilling effect. Their D.I.Y. practice of modifying vintage analog synths and fixing them to logs gives the record a unique sound that's distanced from some of electronic music's more clean and characterless tendencies. If there's one band they seem to share a psychic bond with, it's Brainiac and their explorations of lo-fi futurism ("I Want My Minutes Back" conjures a similar feeling to that evoked by the circular, wiry, fuzzed-up repetitions of "Go Freaks Go"). The bandmembers are intrepid perpetuators of repetition and groove, and it's here that the influence of Krautrock's motorik rhythms is most clearly felt: the vibrating synth line of "Johnny Guitar Calling Gosta Berlin" is its backbone, and the persistence of "Tuesday Makes Me Cry" is in service to a deeply satisfying build. Yet for all their eccentricities, the weirdness of Snapped Ankles' debut belies the accessibility and catchiness that also seep into their songs. Both "Hanging with the Moon" and "I Want My Minutes Back" have hooks worthy of any of post-punk's poppier tendencies, while retaining an artfulness akin to Devo's playful creations. Come Play the Trees is a wonderfully odd and imaginative debut that avoids being coldly inscrutable. ~ Bekki Bemrose
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