Album Review: Snarls — ‘Burst’
Posted: by The Editor
On their debut album, Burst, Columbus band Snarls introduce us to their intense technical skills and striking presence. Consisting of vocalist and guitarist Chlo White, bassist Riley Hall, guitarist Mick Martinez, & drummer Max Martinez, each facet of the group seems like they’ve been making this kind of fun, explosive emo for years and years. As they work through things like romance, anxiety and grappling with aging, they inject each song with confidence. Much of this is thanks to White’s excellent voice, which conveys every feeling at a level bordering on melodrama.
While White’s voice is a powerhouse in its own right, Burst’s greatest feature comes in the form of the infectious doubled vocals that compel the listener to scream-sing along, whether they necessarily relate or not. It’s a technique found across their genre, and they’ve employed it masterfully. On cuts like the opener “Walk in the Woods,” we see from the jump just how good at writing a hook Snarls is. The track finds White trying to clear her head, and kick thoughts of someone whose love she feels trapped in. “I can’t quit you baby / no matter how hard I try / you’ve got me in a knot / but it’s my fault I’m tied.” White puts so much emotion into the final chorus you get the impression she is exercising every thought of him from her mind. After the song’s climactic end, it ends abruptly, as if the record needs to catch its breath.
Halfway through the album is the stunning and aggressive “Hair.” For a band called Snarls, this track is more or less the lone moment that feels like an actual snarl. White warns “you can’t tell me what to do” with such force you fear for whoever she’s warning. While her deadpan delivery has a commanding cockiness and calls to mind early work from Girlpool, it is the song’s arrangement and instrumentation that steals the spotlight. From the brooding and menacing bassline to the mind-melting swell of guitar at the song’s end, “Hair” keeps the listener rapt.
Closing out the record is the title track, a spectral beauty that calls to mind Wildhoney or No Joy. White’s vocals float through the fuzz of the song, shouting out through the dark “when I die / may I burst.” If this is the album’s credo, it certainly follows through on it. After spending the entirety of the record proving their indie pop prowess, they end it with a wonderfully loud and woozy song bordering on shoegaze.
It’s common for the kind of energetic indie pop that Snarls makes to be described by some as being shiny, or glittery. For most bands though, this is much less explicitly embraced. Snarls, however, have taken the glimmering material on as part of their debut record’s aesthetic. The cover features a cloud of glitter being sprinkled down. They describe their sound as “glitter emo alt rock.” This feels like a good fit for them because just as glitter clings to you and everything you love for days, so too do the record’s hooks stick in your head for days after you listen.
Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal
Eric Bennett // @seething_coast
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