The St. Pierre Snake Invasion have finally returned, coiled and ready to strike on the ambitious and extravagant blend of frenzied melody that is Galore.

Release date: April 21, 2023 | Church Road Records | Facebook | Instagram | Stream/Purchase

The St. Pierre Snake Invasion have been boldly stomping around the UK music scene and beyond since their first EP dropped in 2011. With a blend of thunderous riffs and uncompromising energy that draws similarities to band such as Stake, the five-piece showcase impressive musicianship alongside an ability to confidently put on a damn good show, and now they’re back to do it all over again with Galore – a welcome return given that the equally boisterous Caprice Enchanté was the quintet’s last outing, scorching our ears back in June of 2019.

The chaos begins with “Kracked Velvet” as a flurry of notes are instantly hurled at you. Relentless snare hits and the splendidly erratic vocals of Damien Sayell spring to the fore, with the band casting you headlong into the 36-minute maelstrom that lay ahead on Galore. It’s also immediately noticeable just how incredible this album sounds, too; their last LP had a rawer sound that was equally enjoyable, but being able to fully immerse yourself in the nuances and definition of every note, thud, and rasp is highly rewarding.

Having been peppered by that barrage of an opener, the chimes, spacious piano stabs, and electronic brooding of “Midas” present a pleasant few minutes in which to revel in somewhat of an aural ceasefire. You’ll encounter a few instances like this across Galore, and might assume the band are softening to broaden their appeal. Be warned, however, as this more tuneful, abated sound is no cloudless sky following a fierce storm – merely the calm before the next one.

You see, “Submechano” is instead poised with a jagged riff and more of the frenetic noise that the group are renowned for. Pete Reissner’s drums are merciless as this juggernaut of a single careens along the ear canal with the same swaggering harshness that has previously drawn the band likenings to The Chariot and Every Time I Die. Pivotal in the bombardment is the dual guitar work of Patrick Daly and Szack Notaro which rarely settles for a moment, instead acting as regular dumps of gasoline to the persistent flame of TSPSI‘s sound.

Journey further in and differences, the good kind, become apparent. With Galore, TSPSI seem dissatisfied to simply replicate prior sounds. Instead, the additions of more electronic embellishments and harmonic melodiousness sit comfortably beside the existing distortion and abrasive punk energy that often burns so vigorously throughout their songwriting. “Apex Prey” and “Galore” capitalise perfectly on this diversification. The former is a haunting, piano-driven track that imparts unrest as dishevelled dissonance takes a back seat to melancholy and moderate pacing. The latter sees a potent exchange between shimmering and sharpened guitars above another bout of commanding drum work and the powerful bass of Sanjay Patel. A common denominator with both tracks is the guest vocals of Aisling Whiting (of UK art-rock outfit Sang Froid), who lends her own distinctively vibrant charm to these already standout songs.

That sense of impending chaos is one of my favourite things about Galore, and TSPSI in general. Many of the songs here, such as “The Overlook” or bludgeoning closer “I Pray To Liars” (in which Patel’s bass absolutely destroys once again), keep you ensnared, constricted by the tangible sense that all hell will break loose at any given moment. Hooky choruses are not particularly employed here to signpost you through the songs, but rather TSPSI concoct tracks of heightening intensity. In a few cases, that explosive release is never fully realised, but the occasions where the culmination of all that energy does unleash are nauseatingly satisfying.

As established, there are many creative factors that have gone into Galore. Another key component of the record’s identity is explained further on the band’s Bandcamp page:

‘Sayell himself has been adamant that this latest offering would not be a COVID album. He did not want it to address the ubiquitous isolation of global lockdown. It immediately would date the record to a fixed point in time and not allow its ideas to flourish and find a receptive audience for a continued period. Instead, the changes represented in Galore are so fundamentally powerful and relatable to the human condition. It is an album centred around universally resonant themes of growth.’

This choice by TSPSI can truly be felt throughout every track on Galore. They not only embody the above but themes of divulged wisdom, connection, and our ability to leave an impact – for better or worse – on those around us, informed heavily by the arrival of Sayell’s first child in 2021.

This is why you’ll hear a new sense of breadth in the music of TSPSI. It’s not so much out with the old and in with the new: that’s clear enough from the fraught pace of “Every Sun” and “To Sleep Well”, which welcomes a vocal feature from Ashley Tubb of the excellent Sugar Horse (a fellow Bristol band). Rather, it’s old and new in conjunction; songs like the mathcore-esque, digitised march of “That There’s Fighting Talk” and calmer beauty of “Apex Prey” show that TSPSI are expanding their palette noticeably beyond mere walls of guitar-driven noise.

The St. Pierre Snake Invasion have evolved, shedding expectations of stagnancy in favour of complementing current levels of frantic ferocity and distorted attitude with flourishes of sombre gloom, industrial ambience, and a quality of production that builds perfectly on the raw and feral foundations they’re so acquainted with. With so much versatility and creativity now adorning the band’s sound, Galore is a very fitting title indeed and their best record to date.

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