Album Review: Snailface I and II
As mentioned in my first ever blog post, I think modern-day rock is in pretty crappy shape. Sure there are some good new bands out there in the mellower vein, but as far as heavy riffing with groove, it’s in short supply. But as my friends point out, it’s still out there, but just harder to find.
In the 80’s and 90’s we were spoiled as a rock band could be popular while still being subversive. But that was when there was rock on the radio and MTV played videos. And you used to be able to find more obscure stuff (which often turned into the next big thing) through album reviews. These days most album reviews from major media outlets are 3 to 4 sentences long and say more about the writers laziness and short attention span then the music itself.
Well recently I’ve been exposed to a few heavy bands that have flown under the radar; (Red Fang, TruckFighters and Torche to name a few) And now I’ve been turned on to Snailface.
Snailface are stoner rock disciples in every respect. They’ve released 2 albums, and they are both free to download, so there’s really no excuse to not give them a listen.
The first self titled album is the most straightforward of the two. Of particular note is “Dancing On Landmines” which has a very grungy Kyuss meets Soundgarden vibe with a killer chorus.
“Drug School” sounds like Kyuss with a vocals that would be a dead ringer for John Garcia if it were more gravelly. It’s anchored by a strong sinewy riff.
“Duplex Time Machine” has elements of Pink Floyd, very psychedelic and trippy.
“Skinwalker” sounds like a hybrid of Black Sabbath and The Obsessed but with a more playful vibe. “Toxic City Of The Sea” sounds very Queens Of The Stone Age’ish with a great crunchy garage rock riff. “I’m A Warlord” has a rumbling Sabbath riff by way of ZZ Top. Weird but it works.
“Magic Hamburger” is trippy oddness, very proggy and over the top.
You’ll notice that every song I mention I equate with an earlier band; personally I don’t think that’s an insult. Some of the best modern bands like The Horrors, She Wants Revenge and Silversun Pickups all wear their influences on their sleeve. It’s what you do with your influences that counts. As long as it rocks and sticks in your head, that’s all that matters to me.
“Snailface II” basically takes the sludgy template of the debut album and adds onto the weirdness. “Yowie Wants A Piece” is about some sort of creature the singer has the hots for. It has a very goofy Monster Magnet feel with a nice stop-start riff during the verse.
“Momo, The Missouri Monster” once again borrows from the Kyuss sound to good effect.
“Fishy Man-Goat Terrifies Couples Parked At Lake Worth” has a great riff and ethereal chorus.
“The Boy Named Jerry” is a song that has a strong Ween influence. Weird lyrics, off-key jazzy guitar in the verse and a hand clap driven classic rock chorus. In fact much of the 2nd album has a Ween vibe.
When I listen to Ween (who sadly are no more) or Monster Magnet, I often chuckle during the lyrics. With Snailface I want to, but it sounds like they try a bit too hard. It’s that angle that doesn’t quite connect for me, which is a shame as I do love absurdity in rock lyrics.
The addition of a narrator on much of the second album is an example of this kind of superfluous oddness; “You reached into a tent to touch a mountaineers soft cheek, yet you cower when we approach”. It doesn’t feel organic or add anything to the music in my opinion. And a song with the truly awful title “Transvaginal Organ Harvest” seems more fitting for a gore grind band instead of the more playful stoner vein. But this is a minor complaint. The songs deliver in the riffage department.
I have no idea if the band employs different singers, but I’m guessing so given the disparate vocal styles. But all that’s listed on their site are the band members names, with no elaborations on band duties:
Snailface do some good ole fashion rock riffing with nice melodic vocals and all of it topped with psychedelic flourishes. If you liked any of the bands I mentioned as influencers, then do yourself a favor and download Snailface I and II, I think you’ll enjoy.