Album review Scottish albums

Spare Snare

This is the tenth album from Dundonian indie-rocksters Spare Snare, a band 21 years young, and they present here a vibrant, energetic offering. As one would expect, edgy guitars and grumbling vocals abound, with an intensity of lyric mixed with a generous helping of cynicism, and the odd pop gem to boot.

Opener ‘Answer’ bristles with assured self-belief, a minimal backing track of crunchy bass and menacing melodica (an oxymoron, I know!) and the record begins with promise. The sparse arrangements continue into ‘I Am God’ with eyes lifted to the sky, halo slipping, as discordant ‘Zip-A-Dee’ takes over, with singer Jan Burnett’s charming promise “I’m gonna fuck your freedom and I’m gonna stop your play” competing with the screech of tinnitus-inducing twisting guitar (Lee Ronaldo eat your heart out).
‘Ha!’ is pleasantly reminiscent of my nineties’ band crushes, with more than a touch of their formal selves stalking their own shadows, a nod to the surfa groove of Pixies as it ends.

Other stand-out tracks are the buoyant ‘Because I Want’, with Burnett’s quest for insouciant normality (a reasonable request) and ‘Hold Me Down’, a lackadaisical meander through streets of layered dreams, but passing darkened doorways. And it is this dichotomy of sound, intent and meaning that seems to work so well here. Likewise with closing track ‘Need Lifting’, where a muttered vocal competes with driving drums, sounding almost as discordant as the guitars, a sense of anguish escaping the ‘hole’ in which Burnett lingers, asking for help to get out.

There’s a fluidity to this record, a need to be heard from start to finish. Jazz this is not, but this sound is certainly theirs.

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