Pop Albums: Sneaker Pimps Becoming X Clean Up CUP020CD

Andy Gill
Thursday 15 August 1996 23:02

Smooth yet spiky, Sneaker Pimps deal in a trip-hop style which is as informed as much by current indie music as by the dubby, groovy sounds central to the genre. In particular, Chris Corner's guitar parts add a variety of unusual attitudes to the mix - on "Low Place Like Home", his electric guitar is as sternly enigmatic as Garbage, while his acoustic playing on "Post Modern Sleaze" has something of the loping bohemian roll of Beck or G Love & Special Sauce.

Corner and Liam Howe used to be the remix duo Line Of Flight, but the addition of singer Kelli Dayton's baby-doll vocals to the line-up has revealed new undercurrents to their work, which now traces the trip-hop territory of urban dysfunction with a troubled sexual charge all of its own.

Whether it's the woman in "Low Place Like Home" who "Treats [her] life like a tragedy; self-inflict abuse", or the one in "Post Modern Sleaze" who "...must be a Thelma or Louise/ She must be a post-modern sleaze", the subjects of these songs are mutating, under the pressure of suburban ennui, into more disturbing characters.

At the furthest extreme, "6 Underground", the album's most alluring track, finds her contemplating the end - "I fake my life like I've lived: too much/ I take whatever you're given: not enough". Impressive and unsettling.

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