Snuff Redux – Denim American (Album Review)

Snuff Redux – Denim American (Album Review)

Many music enthusiasts regularly lament their perceived death of genres that they say they love. Little they do know that what really died is not the genre but their love for it! For if their passion for the music that they claim they love is indeed burning intensely, then they should know that any well-established music genre remains out there. It is just that they should be the one to research about it and find representatives of it from any decade since its inception. For instance, if a person’s favorite kinds of music are New Wave, Shoegaze, or Indie Rock, then there will always be a good number of new bands to check out—whose music carries sensibilities of these aforementioned musical styles. Snuff Redux is one of the freshest ones whose music resides in the hearts of these beloved genres.

Formed in 2013, in Seattle, Washington, Snuff Redux is comprised by Skyler Ford (guitar, vocals), Daniel Chesney (bass), Dylan Arlick (guitar), and Ziggy Comer (drums). After a slew of EPs, the quartet are finally about to release their first full-length.

Slated to come out on Friday, June 8, 2018, Snuff Redux’s debut album, titled Denim American, is another vital representative of New Wave/Shoegaze–influenced Indie Rock music from the current era. It opens with the rustic, folky, and reflective intro of “Freddy’s Potion,” which then bursts into an inspired, string-laden, fuzzy rockin’ stomper. The teenage kicks and the buzzin’ fuzz continue with the angular, Garage Rock–stylized “Subtle Bender,” exuding a similar youthful exuberance of The Strokes (“Reptilia”) and Arctic Monkeys (“I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”) when these bands were still in their respective nascent stages. The sour-sweet noise explodes mellifluously once again with “Driveway,” which this time glows with some guitar acrobatics reminiscent of the antics of J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. (“Yeah Right”).

“Molly’s House” is definitely an album highlight – nostalgic, jangly, melodic, with a whiff of ’60s Psychedelic Folk Rock and ’90s Shoegaze vibe. Following in the same sonic predisposition, albeit in a more driving and upbeat fashion, the title track reconnects the album with 2000s Indie Rock; think of British Sea Power (“Apologies to Insect Life”), Interpol (“Say Hello to the Angels”), and The Killers (“Mr. Brightside”). With “The French Press” – the album’s carrier single – Snuff Redux then returns the listener to its introspective and crisp swagger. A trek into the countryside, Alternative style, comes next in the form of “Country,” only to shatter again into million splinters of guitar pyrotechnics of “Bussin’ Out” – another brilliant ’90s Alternative Rock brilliance, a seeming homage to the sunny and shoegazy Guitar Pop of the likes of Buffalo Tom (“Dry Land”), Sloan (“500 Up”), and Chapterhouse (“Breather”).

The penultimate track, “It Is What It Is” swirls the mood down a bit, yet remains in touch with the album’s overall New Wave/Shoegaze/Indie Rock concoction. Finally, Snuff Redux closes their first offering with a breath of clean and cool air, as the less cacophonic “Every Rock Is Old” rolls its grooves and melodies in a more subdued manner and ultimately ends with the same romantic cello line that started the whole album in the first place.

Really gone were the days when commercial media and the radio controlled the trajectory of music… the times when they could proclaim the death of genres, when in fact these have always been in existence. Internet freed music… from the clutches of such journalists who are in only for the scoop and sensation and not really for music’s legitimization. Fate, up against their will. The fight was won! Every kind of music plays on. Indeed, New Wave/Indie has another infinity stone in its midst in the form of Denim American. CrypticRock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase Denim America:

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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