On their debut album, the Colombia, Ohio based quartet, Snarls shows us a snapshot in the life of a modern day twenty-something. Filled with honest reflections on love, mental health and the pressures and expectations they have for the future. The charming, heart-on-your sleeve approach to songwriting has once again proven to be effective. Burst is flavored with alt rock, indie-pop and emo, topped with lots of glitter as Chlo White (vocals/guitar), Riley Hall(bass/vocals) and siblings Mick and Max Martinez (guitar and drums, respectively) show us their technical skill and dazzling presence in this 10 track collection.
The opener “Walk in the Woods” introduces us to their style of bright and glamorous riffs, like rays of sunshine seeping through a canopy of trees. The guitars paint a calm and somber scenery. White’s vocals carry a heavy burden as she sings the hook “I can’t quit you baby / No matter how hard I try”.
“Marbles” features distorted riffs and an air of frustration with every uttered word. White’s overdubbed vocals slowly builds in a crescendo of desperation, ending the chorus with a gut-wrenching howl. “Twenty” stands out in its simplicity while effectively conveying its theme of disappointment. The slow tempo and dangling guitars support the vocals in confusion and regret with the line “Chase my tail and dreams like a fucking freak”.
“Hair” is surprisingly, the only time that Snarls bare their teeth. The vocals are delivered in a more scornful approach, every line strikes like a bitter accusation. Minor arpeggios drip down and bleed through like poison on every word. The band channels their inner punk with: “You can’t tell me to do” while maintaining their signature glitter with: “Hey boy, stop messing with my hair”. “Better Off” is by far the track with the heaviest subject. It goes through the struggle wanting something that’s beyond reach, looking for love but finding nothing and not knowing where to start: “If I’m a goner, if I’m a loner / I can’t be the first one, first lover to wonder”.
“Falling” starts with a light and airy intro, embellished by a soothing chorus of angelic voices. A stark contrast to the rest of the track, full of erratic starts and stops with a background of shoe-gaze noise. It evokes the feeling of hesitation and instability, suggesting a struggle with mental health.
The closing song “Burst” erupts with a bang in its opening line: “When I die may I burst with a crack of thunder and a lot of glitter”, depicting the imagery in the album cover. Much as I would like to see someone explode into glitter, I would not wish for this to be the fate of the band. In the end, it asks if anyone would care if they fade away to inexistence (the answer is yes – they count me in).
Snarls’ debut album is surprisingly well-mixed and refined for a band that’s starting out fresh. Burst is a promising start and each hook is a piece of stardust that’s sure to get stuck in your head for days.
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