Coming from the same school of independent alternative adulation as Bob Vylan and Nova Twins are SNAYX, a duo for whom ambition is evidently where it’s at. They’ve already ingratiated themselves among the right company—that being, today’s breed of rock bands for whom genre norms and the label system are asking to be broken—and picked up some fairly solid experience to boot. You really can culminate their ethos and experiences in an anecdote of being invited to open for Kid Kapichi in the smoking area of a Brighton venue, rubbing shoulders on a grassroots level and finding legs up on their own terms.
All sounds pretty good then, right? Well, you do need to understand that, historically, it’s taken a couple of goes around before these bands really find their footing, and that’s one tradition that SNAYX aren’t breaking with this debut EP. It’s definitely solid, and the ideas they bring already show some crackles of electricity, but this is very much not the finished article. If it’s any consolation, the room to grow is pretty blatant, both in terms of SNAYX’s own sound and the telling Part 1 bolted onto the EP’s title.
It’s kind of an odd case in that regard though as, not only is the benefit of said growth abundant, but as the EP progresses, it feels as though it’s occurring in real time. There’s a process of ongoing evolution across just a handful of tracks, to the point where the closer Buck does indeed feel like the most fully realised version of SNAYX themselves. The immediate, nervy bass and clattering percussions act as the best foundation the EP has, alongside one of the stronger, more developed hooks here as well. As far as garage-rock goes, there’s a contemporary edge that keeps it far away from some of the genre’s more stagnant strains, something which the genealogy of the tracklist makes apparent has been consciously worked towards.
That’s because opening is Work, which has more than a touch of Soft Play’s stripped-back-to-no-end feel to it, coupled with the “awroite geeza!” regional accent that’s inexplicably dropped from then on. Yeah, from Body Language onward, Charlie Herridge is not only much more agreeable in his tone, but also notably Americanised. It’s a weird shift to make partway through a project, and highlights how the compartmentalisation of SNAYX lands. When it’s so clear that certain screws are being tightened as things progress, certain beats and even that whole first track can come across as runoffs, or even outdated experiments bucketed into a body of work for pure necessity.
But even so, there’s a likability to what SNAYX are doing that often holds them up. Hearing their sound formulate and reconstitute itself definitely has some appeal, mostly coming from that ground level they began on and what could easily feel pretty punk in execution. It doesn’t help in terms of natural gaps, like how Deranged could afford some more guitar muscle to match its perceived scrappiness, but the deliberately condensed, DIY element is where the duo’s best ideas come from. There’s a sizzle to Body Language that definitely has a handful of flecks of a Queens Of The Stone Age rhythm section to it; the same for Weaponized, only with Royal Blood. And pretty much the entire way through, the rabble-rousing, self-assured swings taken in the lyricism always hit with brusque force.
That’s the energy that’ll take SNAYX over the line above anything else, even over a style that’s yet to crystallise but is left open-ended enough to imply it’s getting there. The old ‘it’s a debut’ excuse might be a bit old hat right now, but it’s truer for SNAYX than with most; that Part 1 is carrying a lot of weight, and pleasingly isn’t straining too hard yet. But the year is still young, and with an ample supply of shows and festival appearances under their belt by its end, the picture of who SNAYX are will inevitably get a lot clearer. It’ll be properly exciting when that’s mirrored in the music, but it’s not like that won’t come soon.
For fans of: Kid Kapichi, Soft Play, Nova Twins
‘Weaponised Youth: Part 1’ by SNAYX is released on 10th March.
Words by Luke Nuttall