Genre: Alternative Rock
Released: Nov 2018
Reviewed by: Benedict Roff-Marsh
Snaex seem like masters of writing incomprehensible biopic material about former albums, that never gets updated. They seem not to really understand how the internet works at all. This is a shame as it makes them seem somewhere between disinterested & pretentious for anyone just trying to make sense of who, what & where the band is.
So step past that and listen to the album. “The Word” is relatively straight Indie Rock of the more cultivated type. More REM than Misfits. But thankfully (unlike their dubious attempts at marketing) it feels very accessible.
The songs tend to have a slightly shimmery, jangly, Shoegaze tone but the vocals keep it direct and focused on the stories of the songs. Sometimes the voice is a bit shy of where it should be which takes the edge off. It may be a better voice than Dylan or Reed, but it doesn’t have the power of Dylan or Reed. I’d rather the latter. If you can’t be perfect then be perfection.
Arrangements are also very simple with little “fluff” around the lyrics. This is generally good, At times I’d like to be allowed to settle in the “place” of a song for a while longer. This is where some tasteful countermelody can do the job nicely. It lets any “reveal” the song may have work out better.
“Illinoise Blues” is the longest song by far and I am really enjoying it. Still no real musical lead as the guitars are just about all doing the strummy thing but the extra attention to the story is really great. This is my pick of the songs for sure.
Matter of fact the album seems to be hiding it’s deeper songs later in the run order so if you are hoping for a bit more depth then shunt to Tk 7 and roll from there. The last track “?” sees the band get a bit adventurous with their studio gear. Again could use some Lead but pleasing enough for sure as an album ender.
The mix I really like as it is very soft & supple. Muted & subtle even. These days, just about everyone would mix that Kick drum up to “Hammer of the Gods” level to make it more exciting. Being backed right down keeps the focus on the voice and allows the more subtle textures of the music expand far better without the intrusion of over-loud drums.
Comparisons are always hard but I’ll manage I think. Joe Pug comes straight to mind. American, singer-songwriter in the Dylan tradition. Liam Dinsmore was a real Indie and I rather enjoy his album but like a fool, he seems to have removed all his material. As a bit of a wildcard I will add Oz Rock band The Church who were masters of this sort of material. Different sound but still very relevant (and possibly even an influence).
Bottom line is that “The Word” is bang-on what Indie Rock used to be about and should be again if it wishes to rise; i.e. gain fans and notoriety.