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Album Review: Snake Eyes – Skeletons

Rising south coasters Snake Eyes channel disaffection into distortion pedals on promising EP, Skeletons

There is a gnarly genius to be found by keeping things simple. Even a madcap musical polymath such as Jamie Lenman knows that a song is best served by a single, essential idea – preferably at face-melting volume. And so there is a satisfying, Reuben-esque scuzziness to this debut EP from south coast noiseniks Snake Eyes, who deliver the kind of livewire immediacy that comes from three mates plugging in and letting rip. 

Simplicity shouldn’t be mistaken for playing dumb, though. Don’t Worry is ruthless in its efficiency, a sub-two-minute blast of scabrous punk, fizzing guitars and drums clattering down the stairs. Yet guitarist Jim Heffy’s drawled, repeated brush-offs (‘Yeah, I’m good, I’m fine, don’t worry’) shrewdly highlight how we conceal our pain from others, even as we’re sinking amid the clamour. It’s a bummer, disguised as a volatile banger.

Skeletons flexes the 90s rock songwriting sensibilities that courses throughout this EP. Taut verses are let off the leash into bouncing choruses, which in another decade might have hit heavy rotation on MTV. Yet late album highlight Bugged Out is the dark horse here. The tempo drags down to a grungy crawl, anchored by Nicole Gill’s creeping bassline before Jim piles on layers upon layers of swirling guitar feedback. Elsewhere Snake Eyes may lean on their kinetic chemistry to carry them, but here the trio reign themselves in and channel their disaffection to mesmerising effect.

In time, Snake Eyes will hit upon something that truly makes them stand out, such as the earworming weirdness of Viagra Boys or the gale-force aggro of Amyl And The Sniffers. As a promising introduction, though, Skeletons is a refreshingly unselfconscious and bone-rattling affair.

Verdict: 3/5

For Fans Of: Fangclub, METZ, Single Mothers

Skeletons is released on October 9 via Failure By Design.

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Posted on October 5th 2020, 11:07a.m.
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