Band â€“ Snowing
Album â€“ I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted
Label â€“ Square of Opposition and Count Your Lucky Stars
Release date â€“ 1st April 2011 (available for free download at Count Your Lucky Stars Bandcamp for all you vinyl haters)
Sounds like â€“ Emo
I have to say, I love the American emo scene â€“ the whole concept of the charming eccentricity of the bands involved. Basement shows; everything done through flagrant self-promotion, flyering entire buildings, attempting to cram 60 kids into a venue designed to hold about 15, hard-to-find split 7â€ that have their best songs on and of course, imploding after about 3 years together, fuck-knows how many shows and possibly a rotating line up of singers and tappy-tappy-tap-tap lead guitarists. Itâ€™s a warm, embracing scene, dogged by hardship in places (the amount of money these bands make probably buys them 1 cup of coffee to last them the week) but the amount of passion the brimming optimism their music has, you canâ€™t fault it. Thatâ€™s putting in the hours people, thatâ€™s working your arse off for not much, save for a few other like-minded individuals watching you blow out the PA at Mikeâ€™s house party at 1 oâ€™clock in the morning.
So; Snowing are another addition to this scene; having been around since 2008, formed from the ashes of Street Smart Cyclist by John, Nate and Ross, knee-jerk reactions state this is SSC mk 2. Wellâ€¦.in some ways, yeah I guess so; but itâ€™s a SSC who have actually bothered to get on with recording more than 4 vaguely decent sounding tracks, (although whether thereâ€™s a song to rival the brilliance that is â€˜Kiss Kitty On The Lipsâ€™ is debatable) which have some gusto, time, dedication and emotional freshness.Â What immediately springs to mind about â€˜I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wantedâ€™ is the intense sincerity of the music thatâ€™s on offer â€“ you can hear the earnest concentration bleeding from your stereo in every note and every fibre. This is the selling point of Snowing though; their youth; their optimistic, spirited outlook that they blend into their playing that forms the very songs on this album.
Opening track â€˜I Think Weâ€™re In Minskâ€™ is a pinball of twisting sounds â€“ it starts off reminiscent of a summery pop-punk song, but turns this on its head with the lyrics â€œat my funeral, no I donâ€™t think we will meet againâ€; that steadily builds into a rumbling headstrong rush of clattering drumbeats and an almost progressive-rock blast of noise, before leaping back into the jangling, poppy-hooks again. The breakdowns are pure vintage emo, crunching chords and tight-as-hell bass lines, not to mention the highness of the guitars, which cut through the mix like a hot knife through butter.
â€˜Mark Z. Danielewskiâ€™ is again, superbly tight in its execution â€“ somewhat muted guitar strums, alongside a bouncing, spirited chorus line that Snowing must know how to write in their sleep, with a particular highlight being the midsection of rising and falling power-chords that make me want to perform Slipknot jumps until I canâ€™t feel my legs anymore.
What takes getting used to, is the unpredictability of Snowing and their way around a song. Their structure seems to be a odd meshing together of time changes and erratic vocal shouts â€“ very much like Meet Me In St. Louis; albeit Snowing condense their jangled, emotive post-hardcore into 2 minute snaps.
â€œRelationsâ€¦.relationsâ€¦.well I have a new oneâ€¦.but I want the old oneâ€¦.then Iâ€™ll go out, Iâ€™ll drink, Iâ€™ll drink, Iâ€™ll get drunkâ€¦â€ has vocalist John Galm exposing, on one hand, a fragile state of mind or perhaps, a rejection-filled drunken haze, that is only fuelled by the heavier, more intense moments that has Galm roaring his lungs hoarse. â€˜Malk Itâ€™ then begins to wind down, with Galm crowing, in a drunken slur â€œI wanted to sayâ€¦.â€ Like some pie-eyed, young John Cusack outside his crushes window. All he needs is a massive ghetto-blaster and a sense of worthlessness.
On â€˜Why Am I Not Going Underwater?â€™ Snowing has written one of what will possibly be many lines shouted at their shows (â€œSOMETIMES I GET DRUNK AT NIGHT!â€) â€“ hey, itâ€™s shouted just before it all kicks in again; donâ€™t tell me you canâ€™t imagine the mic being thrown out to the kids for them to shriek back with just as much passion as the band put across. Easily, the strongest song on this album â€“ ticking all the correct boxes in some kind of emo-rock bingo card â€“ huge drum roll builds, tappy, intertwining guitar lines, that jangling, rattling breakdown, slightly nasal lead vocal yelps, customary gang-vocal cries and a jaunting, bounce beneath lyrics that are laced somewhat with tales of alcoholism and dejection. â€˜You Bring Somethingâ€¦Noâ€™ borders between schizophrenic punk rock, that pushes the tappier elements almost out the door with its frantic, disorientated speed; concluding as a 63 second blast of snotty, hostile attitude.
Thereâ€™s some in-joke hilarity on â€˜So I Shotgunned A Beer And Went To Bedâ€™ where the band start playing the beginning to a Street Smart Cyclist song and in what must be a case of â€˜just throw it inâ€™ vocalist Galm, screams â€œMELISSA!â€ followed by â€œI FUCKED UP!â€ needless to say; itâ€™s a charming nod to â€˜Kiss Kitty On The Lipsâ€™ whether deliberate or accidental = good work.
â€œI was 20 when I had my first beerâ€¦.it was a Miller Liteâ€ croons Galm on the slow-burning churn of â€˜KJ Jamminâ€™ â€“ a track, which seems to embrace the culture of getting completely blitzed. Is it a drunken love song? Galm cries for someone to drive him home and leave him in his backyard, whilst he staggers through the remainder of the song, his vocals (at times) somewhat buried and garbled beneath the high-end guitar twangs, which kind of suit the mood of this slightly shambolic, but no less intense, two minutes of slurred emo.
The sombre head-nod of â€˜Damp Feathersâ€™ is less tappy, guitar-flailing crescendos and more less-nasal reminiscent feelings delivered expertly by Galm; who sounds completely different to the bratty, scattered persona portrayed on the other tracks. Even the louder moments on this are completely alien compared to the preceding offerings; adding a certain depth and mature attitude to Snowingâ€™s sound.
Some could say Snowing sound cluttered â€“ true; they stumble over their songs, but itâ€™s with such a tender honestly and this vibrant passion that they clatter through these whirling songs of emotive confessions and tales of drunken carefree exuberance that make â€˜I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wantedâ€™ stand out from the crowd.
By Ross Macdonald