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The Snuts - Burn The Empire (Album Review)

Monday, 10 October 2022 Written by Simon Ramsay

Photo: Edward Cooke

Now this is how you follow up a chart-topping debut album. By trimming some fat, pushing forward into new sonic realms and delivering an unfiltered socio-political attack, The Snuts have made good on their promise to take bigger risks on a bold, bar-raising successor to 2021s ‘W.L’.

‘Burn The Empire’ is a leaner, more focused affair than an impassioned debut that, although slightly padded and derivative, came across like a joyous explosion of post-millennial indie-rock, ‘90s Britpop and adolescent accounting.

That’s not to say the band’s underdog charm has been polished away. On the contrary, by streamlining and distilling their finest attributes into tighter songs that stretch beyond insular autobiographical storytelling to tackle the state of this modern world, the record’s diatribes strike hard and fast.

Aided by some historic and, sadly, prescient words from late MP Tony Benn, the punk-powered title track rips apart corrupt politicians and corporations as Jack Cochrane incites us to resist malevolent controlling forces. Making its point with brutal specificity, while being universal enough to mould to your own experiences, it’s one hell of a masses against the classes rallying cry.

The not so subtly named Zuckerpunch, meanwhile, castigates social media’s impact on mental health with pin-sharp poignancy. Beginning as a mournful, hypnotic shuffle that yearns for the simplicity of yesteryear, the band suddenly unleash a rhythmic whirlwind of abandon that feels like they’re urging us to throw off the shackles of our devices and embrace something real and tangible.  

Each track conveys its message through delightful musical choices as much as razor-edged wordplay. In conjunction with colourful guitar textures that shatter the confines of jangling six-string indie, as well as modern genre-hopping production flourishes courtesy of Detonate and Coffee, two of the record’s more left field cuts exemplify this album’s abundance of galvanising dancefloor grooves.   

Where Hallelujah Moment is a funky, humid ditty, its peppy rhythmic bounce mirroring  Cochrane’s lovestruck lyrical spring, the aptly named Cosmic Electronica promises to remake this world in a better image as its futuristic Daft Punk chorus leads the way towards salvation for “a new generation.”  

Flanking those cool new moves are fresh but familiar euphoric anthems and confessional ballads.  The Rodeo, Pigeons In New York and Blah Blah Blah are destined to be massive festival singalongs next summer, while the band’s folk-tinted, heartfelt aesthetic is particularly sweeping on 13, soulfully moving on End Of The Road, a duet with Rachel Chinouri, and akin to Jeff Buckley covering something from Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’ during Yesterday. 

This is a no messing, 32 minute piledriver of a record from a band who know what they want to say and exactly how they want to say it. ‘Burn The Empire’ might not be as revolutionary, radical or uncomfortably subversive as Manic Street Preachers' ‘The Holy Bible’ but it’s probably the closest you’ll get from a mainstream guitar band in 2022.

The Snuts Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri October 14 2022 - MIDDLESBROUGH Middlesbrough Town Hall
Sat October 15 2022 - EDINBURGH Usher Hall
Mon October 17 2022 - NORWICH Nick Rayns LCR
Wed October 19 2022 - SOUTHAMPTON Engine Rooms
Fri October 21 2022 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Sat October 22 2022 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Mon October 24 2022 - LONDON KOKO
Tue October 25 2022 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Thu October 27 2022 - ABERDEEN Lemon Tree
Fri October 28 2022 - INVERNESS Ironworks
Tue November 15 2022 - BELFAST Mandela Hall
Wed November 16 2022 - DUBLIN Button Factory
Mon December 05 2022 - GLASGOW King Tut's
Tue December 06 2022 - GLASGOW King Tut's
Wed December 07 2022 - DUNFERMLINE PJ Molloys

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