More about: the snuts
Among all the exciting new releases this week is The Snuts highly anticipated sophomore album Burn The Empire. The West Lothian hailing quartet unleashed their debut record W.L last April and it quickly ascended to number 1 on the UK Albums Chart, the first Scottish debut record to do so since the View's Hats Off to the Buskers in 2007.
This month the group have been battling their label Parlophone records, they have successfully brought forward album’s release date so that fans can hear Burn The Empire before the tour begins. After such a strong debut everyone has high expectations of the Whitburn boys follow up, but have they avoided the dreaded sophomore album curse?
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The album opens with the ferocious ‘Burn the Empire’, a charged anti-establishment mission statement that begins with a snippet from a Tony Benn speech on control and fear. Cochrane asserts “I won’t take a back seat, No fucking way man”. The Snuts seem to have found their voice this time around, next ‘Zuckerpunch’ offers a broken beat aesthetic and shrewd lyrics which explore the impacts of technology and social media. This is a band who is growing in confidence as they delve into more weighty topics.
As well as explosive tracks with hard hitting themes we’re offered plenty of feel-good moments throughout the record; escapist track ‘The Rodeo’ embraces life’s unpredictability in a singalong indie anthem that’s a lot of fun to listen to, the infectious ‘Knuckles’ is just the ultimate indie-pop track packed with hooks and rhythm, and euphoric funk-pop ‘Hallelujah Moment’ is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
A stark contrast is offered by ‘13’ both lyrically and sonically; it starts out with a slow-paced twinkly lullaby intro before Cochrane’s soft voice kicks in and the lyrical narrative gets you all teary eyed. Poetic lyrics tell a story a teenage boy who goes to prison for a knife crime after falling into patterns of addiction. There are equally powerful lyrics in ‘Pigeons in New York’ which send an important message; that we’re all human and ultimately, we have the same things in common. Softly strummed guitar and gentle vocals take the lead until just before the one-minute mark when the electric guitar and drums kick in and the song explodes into life.
Elsewhere ‘Yesterday’ offers a breather, it’s a sentimental stripped back acoustic moment and ‘End of the Road’, featuring Rachel Chinourini, is similarly refreshing, breaking up the album up a bit. The pair’s voices work nicely together and their accents offer an interesting contrast. ‘Cosmic Electronica’ is the most experimental track on the record, W.L critics disliked The Snuts for genre hopping but personally I think their signature sound shines through even with electro-rock.
The final track ‘Blah Blah Blah’ tackles the subject of censorship and delivers more punk angst, its easy to imagine this being played to a packed out venue when the band embark on their tour on Sunday.
Overall, Burn The Empire is an evolution in sound and subject matter from a band growing in confidence as they continue to outshine their peers. The record is still brilliantly genre spanning but significantly tighter thematically than their debut, an excellent demonstration of storytelling skill. A thought-provoking album for the kids of today.
Burn The Empire is out now
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More about: the snuts