Imagine garage rock mixed with performance art installations involving paper-mache miniatures, dancing marionettes, and surf-punk rock played at such a pace the inevitable acid trip dizziness makes everything seem completely logical. It exists by the way, in the form of Nashville’s Snõõper. And now we have their well-awaited full length debut. Take a breath…
When singer and maker of cobbled-together props Blair Tramel combined with scene mainstay Connor Cummins, it captured the attention of outlets aplenty, the inimitable Henry Rollins and, presumably, Jack White, whose label Third Man is responsible for distributing this manic display of nonsense. I could try and describe egg-punk, but maybe it’s best to leave it to curious meme searches on Reddit and other Internet wormholes. This troupe seemingly fits the bracket; the self-referencing anti-modesty of Super Snõõper is bloody funny, mostly featuring reworkings of their singles, demos and EPs all in one complete package. Being a record that starts and ends before you can exhale, here’s a speedrun-à-la-Snõõper:
Intro is certainly an introduction of sorts: a clusterfuck amalgam of noise, signature noodly guitar play, and other bleeps and bloops that sound like punk being transmitted from Venus. Bed Bugs is a chaotic 30-second tremoloed anthem actually about bed bugs, and is band-tightness epitomised.
Pod, another past hit, best shows their upgraded, amplified sound. Any lo-fi four tracks are now sprinkled with studio magic for gnarlier bits, and to give some space to the group operating as a well-oiled, yet still rustic-as-fuck, machine. It’s got bizarro sound effects, with referee whistling on frenetic cut Fitness, a live staple usually complete with Tramel pulling out a huge deadlift bar, hitting a giant polystyrene globe, and all the manic leads Cummins has to muster. It’s one for all the gym-culture naysayers—“Bench press excess, obsess fitness!”—made all the more chucklesome performed in their usual shell suit garb.
Powerball injects instant hits of dopamine with the catchy staccato delivery similarly displayed on Music for Spies’ call-and-response chorus. Three-chord punk gets changed up on Verox with the added crunch of extra guitarist Ian Teeple, which throws you off a bit using a head spinning stop/start effect, also conjured up for Unable which talks about bags. Snõõper goes to the fullest throttle often, but not always. Fruit Fly plays around with speed for a sub-minute locked-in groove that slows towards a…rapid-fire outro? Ah, they got us again! Inventory is frantic. You get the idea. It’s the precision amongst the apparent mess that’s most exceptional.
Defect’s punchy bass and guitar stabs are evocative of post-punk on amphetamines, with Happy Haugen’s bass prominence flipped round at the mid-way mark. Considering the light speed on most tracks, Microbe feels like a stroll in the park with its ever-so-slightly lessened BPM. Then it starts playing some sort of sample about elecro-magnetics over programmed dance synths, keys and explosion sounds straight out of a Looney Tunes’ ACME Corp product catalogue. A two minute track is a surprise, even more so on Running, a bloody fine minuter! That’s a doubled length since its Music for Spies EP outing, but re-features its cheapo drum machine. No added production refinement, while welcome, can take that away from us.
Fast, impactful, ridiculous, fun and bonkers. Punk and garage-rock dialled up a notch is a hell of a lot. If that’s your bag, Super Snõõper. And even if it isn’t, still, Super Snõõper. Well that’s that. I need a lie down.
For fans of: Prison Affair, Osees, Alien Nosejob
‘Super Snõõper’ by Snõõper is released on 14th July on Third Man Records.
Words by Elliot Burr