ALBUM REVIEW: Snõõper – Super Snõõper
An exciting first full-length effort from a band brimming with ideas and energy
With their debut album, Snõõper don’t just come racing out of the traps, but zoom past in a punk-tinged cacophony of noise which is over just as quickly as it arrived.
Its 16 tracks (going by the vinyl version – non-vinyl versions not graced with ‘Stretching 2’ and ‘Stretching 3’) rack up a slender run time just shy of 25 minutes, with closer ‘Running’ accounting for over five minutes of that total.
With average song lengths ranging from 30 seconds to those just shy of two minutes on Super Snõõper, what they lack in stamina they make up for the sheer amount of ideas and inventive guitar in each track.
Formed by punk guitarist, Connor Cummins, and vocalist and early education teacher with a sideline in art and animation, Blair Tramel, the Nashville-based outfit are completed by second guitarist, Ian Teeple, bassist, Happy Haugen, and drummer, Cam Sarrett.
The guitar riffs and solos-cum-spasms are the standout feature on Super Snõõper, with able support and drive from the drums and bass and punchy yelps from Tramel, whose voice is strangely reminiscent of The Waitresses’s Patty Donahue. Tramel’s vocals work well with the punk musical backbone of the band, with Be Your Own Pet perhaps the closest comparison, though on a couple of tracks her voice becomes monotonous and her performance on latest single and aforementioned relative epic, ‘Running’, isn’t quite strong enough to compliment the band’s most accomplished and conventional performance.
Not all 16 tracks retain the freshness abundant in their best output and at points the songs become a little samey with lyrics hidden in the thorny mesh of Snõõper’s sound.
The two tracks which exhibit what they do best are ‘Fitness’ and ‘Defect’; the former featuring excellent guitar playing and a very funny interview recording with a ‘poser’ athlete which lays bare the superficiality of gym work as the prelude to a serious competition, and the latter is a showcase for Haugen’s work on bass on one of Snõõper’s catchiest tracks.
Photo credit: Monica Murray
Snõõper’s signature sound mines from the likes of The Ramones and IDLES, with ‘Pod’ kicking off as if it’s a song by the latter. Some of the best moments come when they deviate from this formula (which is great, good and average across the punk tracks), most notably with ‘Running’, which is an art-rock song like a coming together of Squid and early Teleman which builds to an enjoyable guitar solo to play the album out by Cummins.
Equally, the drum ‘n’ bass and chilled electronica on ‘Stretching 2’ and ‘Stretching 3’ suggest avenues the band could explore further, with plenty of recordings being added to the mix and something like DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing… not beyond the realms of possibility if they chose to embrace this more fully. These moments provide divergent respite in between the swirl of fast-paced guitar-led rock.
The rhetoric around the band, highly praised by Henry Rollins, suggests a raucous and entertaining live show, and Super Snõõper supports that thesis. Patchy in parts, the swift array of songs cause these lulls to barely register while the high points perhaps don’t stay long enough, but Super Snõõper is an exciting first full-length effort from a band brimming with ideas and energy who hopefully won’t fade as quickly as their songs do.
Super Snõõper is out this Friday (14 July) via Third Man Records