Review: Snooze / Who Are The Toms—Split (Counter Intuitive Records)

Posted: by The Editor

snooze we are the toms split

Despite its growing popularity, Counter Intuitive Records is still functioning as a label that surprise-drops stellar releases from virtually unheard-of bands. With the apparent descent of SideOneDummy into “legacy label” territory, there’s currently a gap to be filled for the now-widening indie/punk/emo world where Weezer is canon, and this split between Snooze (members of Just Friends, ex-Joyce Manor) and Who Are The Toms (ex-State Lines, Oso Oso) is the latest indication that CI could occupy that space.

Snooze, whose lack of social media presence rendered their excellent 2017 debut purposefully obscure, play a crunch-heavy brand of riffy indie-rock strapped with emo-pop vocals. Think Oso Oso meets Antarctigo Vespucci. Their two contributions, “Bully” and “Eraser Head,” are more of the much-desired same; layered riffs, squealing, gooey synth leads, and frontman Sam Kless’s DeLonge-indebted Californian inflection. In a discography of less than 10 songs, Snooze have already nailed the heavy/catchy dynamic, as “Bully” and “Eraser Head” are each as head-bang-able as they are hummable.

Who Are The Toms, who’d previously only dropped a four-song EP back in 2016, were a great choice for side b, as their Rozwell Kid meets My Bloody Valentine (“When You Sleep” in particular) style moves at a driving pace that complements Snooze’s wobbly rhythms. “U Were the 1-2” and “Cruz,” which feature spindly guitar solos, have an airy, shoegazy quality to them yet still feel firmly planted by their weighty riffs. “I Wanted U 2 Know” is a bit more “Holiday”-esque, with sugary harmonies and a more pop-minded structure. It doesn’t owe anything to emo, which is different for a Counter Intuitive band, but it still feels like a fitting and refreshing inclusion to their catalog.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

Eli Enis | @eli_enis

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