sun 14/07/2024

CD: Skip&Die - Cosmic Serpents | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Skip&Die - Cosmic Serpents

CD: Skip&Die - Cosmic Serpents

Afro-Dutch outfit helm a modern pop sprawl of global influences

Singer Cara Pirata peers through the round window over cosmic crystals

Most people like new music to sound as much as possible like music they’ve heard before. At the very least it should adhere to core genre tenets that don’t force listeners from their comfort zone. Music that’s regarded as brave by a conservative music media usually has the tiniest hint of something fresh, resulting in self-satisfied hurrahs for the excitements of Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire and the like.

A label such as Belgium’s Crammed Discs, then, which consistently backs artists unbound by genre or even locality, never receives the mainstream attention it deserves as one of the world’s most innovative and fascinating.

Skip&Die are a good example of the sort of thing Crammed Discs invest in. A four-piece fronted by female South African polymath Cata Pirata, they attack global roots music, primarily African in tone, from Cumbia to Kwaito and beyond, with devil-may-care relish. They slam these Afro flavours into a variety of bass music styles, indie pop and more, all topped with psychedelic electronic flourishes, and end up with a sonic gumbo which, even when the tunes fall short, is rich and intriguing.

This is not to say Skip&Die lack decent songs. Their second album ranges from the sweet Hindi-tinted “Sunshine Rebellion Gang” to the magnificent Transglobal Undergound-ish throb of “Mami Wati” to tight electro-pop numbers that recall Brazilian nu-rave invaders CSS. They’re invigorating and tuneful and, as on “Burning Bridges”, they rock out where necessary. Other reference points might include The Very Best, Friends, Ozric Tentacles, The Slits and Sunscreem, which just shows how difficult to pigeonhole they are. Skip&Die have a curious name, and look like 1990s gap year global travellers, but put cynicism aside because they rampage round music with gleeful purpose and disregard. This is pop as it could be, unfettered.

Overleaf: Watch the video for the song "Cosmic Serpents"

They attack global roots music, primarily African in tone, from Cumbia to Kwaito and beyond, with devil-may-care relish


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters