Album review: The Slits – ‘Trapped Animal’

Album review: The Slits - 'Trapped Animal'


Seminal punkers keeping one foot stuck in the past

It’d be churlish to expect precocious post-punk priestesses [a]The Slits[/a], teenage underminers of [a]Sex Pistols[/a]’ cocky masculinity, to stay caged in the past. The primitive, untutored musical naivety that made songs like [b]‘Typical Girls’[/b] so idiosyncratic and interesting couldn’t last. What wouldn’t be churlish, though, is to expect them to keep pushing themselves. 1981’s [b]‘Return Of The Giant Slits’[/b] was genuinely ambitious and inventive, a reach into a dubby, dancey future. Three decades on and the best [b]Ari Up[/b] and [b]Tessa Pollitt[/b], plus a motley crew of new recruits, can manage is an album of deeply average reggae radio pop that sounds like [b]Cyndi Lauper[/b]’s troubled sleep mumblings. Lyrically it’s excruciating, from the tired misapprehension that whining about men being rubbish = feminism on [b]‘Ask Ma’[/b] to Ari’s assertion that [i]“Look at an ancient jungle tree/You see me… tribal warrior princess”[/i] on (yes) [b]‘Reggae Gypsy’[/b]. We’re all for people celebrating the music they love free from boundaries of race and that, but there’s something inescapably grating about hearing a German/English newspaper heiress wittering on about fucking Babylon in thick patois. Crushingly disappointing.

[b]Emily Mackay[/b]

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Click here to get your copy of The Slits’ ‘Trapped Animal’ from the Rough Trade shop.