As the wizards discussed on podcast number 20, this month they undertook an intra-wizard 1p Album Club swap.

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The full discussion can be heard on this podcast, but here are the details of my swap with Rebel.

The Snitches – Star Witness

Bought by Rebel for Kicker

Bought because…

In discussing this month’s selection for the 1p Album Club, I was roundly criticised for my last selection for going too mainstream. To be fair, the album did contain 4 chart singles, and the idea that the received would not have heard of, and formed an opinion of, Crowded House was, in hindsight, extremely naive.  Although Adam was very respectful, and might I suggest very British, in his response, here is the review he wanted to write:
“It arrived and Jesus, no, it’s fucking Crowded House.   I HATE CROWDED HOUSE AS DO ALL OF MY REAL FRIENDS!!! The wife shouted “UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN, THEY HAVE INFILTRATED THE HOUSE! QUICK FUMIGATE FUMIGATE!”  I explained to her I was contractually obliged to listen to it 3 times and she made me leave the house immediately, with headphones, and 5 hours later, the deed was done and the CD was safely in the incinerator.  My face is still contorted and I look like I am licking piss off a nettle, but I am sure it will return to normal with time.”
what is this shit?

what is this shit?

So, after this experience, I decided to pay more attention to the spirit of the 1p Album Club and really try to buy something that I thought the person might like while obeying my principle that it should be something they have not heard before.  However, now I was buying for Kicker O’ Elves and, as far as I can tell, he has every record, CD and, probably, tape that has ever been released. This was going to be difficult.  And indeed it proved to be. I alighted on a Santigold album that I had enjoyed a few years ago and then recalled that I had included this in a mix for him, and he may have even alerted me to this artist.  Then I found The Snitches and read a review that mentioned Kicker’s number one favourite artist. It seemed to be a no-brainer. Before I knew where I was, I had sent the album.
daft beards too - these boys are right up Kicker's street

daft beards too – these boys are right up Kicker’s street

Looking back at the review I now realise it said:
“The blues might also break The Snitches of their abstract poetry habit, which at one point sent me to the liner notes to make sure these guys are not Quebecois. Lines like “This must be cool/ I can pretend that we are one and that we laugh,” and “Slut Shark oozes wax across the dance floor” scan like lobotomized Robert Pollard prose translated to French and back.”
Now, you may have noticed that this review could be more positive, but read on and you will get to the line “The Snitches make genuinely, honestly shitty music.”
Oh dear. This might not end well.
Anyway the deed is done and let’s see if Kicker likes ‘Genuinely Shitty Music’ * nervous grin *
The verdict

There were three things I noted before actually listening to this album:

  1. This is a band I have never heard of.
  2. The cover has a communist star behind silhouetted members of the band in suitable rock poses and is therefore ace.
  3. The band appear to be Canadian.
all looking good so far

all looking good so far

With all that in mind, I quickly burnt the CD to get it onto my iPod to listen to ‘on the move’. Interestingly, or perhaps not, another pre-listening fact emerged. My computer read the disc as being by a band called Migala* and not The Snitches. What could all this mean?

Well, on first listen, it seemed to mean that this was a band who had heard plenty of power pop and perhaps too much Ween. There seemed to be enough here to make listening the requisite number of times not too unpleasant (a good album length here of just 38 minutes), but only really one track (Right Before My Eyes) made me think it could be a winner.

So, after 6 good listens, here’s a rundown of the whole album:

December 21 – the opening track starts with a pretty neat riff and tumbling drums and, frankly, silly vocals. No bad thing. Whoah-oh-oah-oah!

Pinkie Standing – builds on the opener with a better riff played twice as quickly and adds bubbly keyboards. Less silly vocals too despite seemingly singing about sticky-out little fingers. Possibly. Top watery solo too. Nice.

Right Before My Eyes – still the best song with its anthemic chorus and Gatling Gun type vocals. This really reminds me of early Cheap Trick and this is very much a good thing. It seems to have some form of revolutionary zeal about it too.

Willie – extra whooshy noises at the start is a winner, but the song slows down and I lose interest pretty quickly.

In My Head – the vocals are a bit annoying on this one – I guess they were going for quirky, but there’s a thin line that has been crossed here. Still it’s all over pretty quickly and on to the next one…

Perfect Gentleman – seagull sound effects! Is this a reggae lilt I detect? It is! Oh dear.

Wednesdays On My Mind – another slowie that starts dull and gets more boring.

Gets Me Down – a promising riff opens this one, but it goes into a sub-Santana shuffle with strange whispery vocals. This is now getting me down.

Sugar Mommy – there is a very pleasant squeaky guitar noise on this track that raises it above the humdrum, but the trite lyrics pull it back down. It’s been a while since I liked a track on this album…

Crazy Talking Girl – oh shit, another slowie and this time it’s very slow. Like Pixies on mogadon, but not as good as that sounds.

Swallow – this is a bit better – the vocals are rawer and more interesting and we get a riff that keeps my interest despite a noticeable lack of pace. Play this one twice as fast, boys, and you’d have a winner.

Slut Shark – hooray, a quicker one to finish and this one had me thinking of one hit wonders, The Knack. It also had me pining for the opening trio of songs on this album.

So there we have it. The Snitches – Star Witness would make an excellent 3-track, and pretty good 5-track, EP for anyone who likes Cheap Trick and/or Aussie n’er-do-wells, The Vines. The whole album though, slumps horribly in the middle for me despite the rather touching lack of pretention throughout.

*Migala – a Spanish post-rock outfit on Sub Pop apparently. No, me neither.

Standout Track:

Right Before My Eyes

Previous 1p Album Club Swaps:

The Go Team

Dawn Of The Replicants / Pretty Girls Make Graves

The Bees


About kickerofelves1

Wizard-in-Chief for Trust The Wizards music podcast and blog. Guided By Voices fanatic.

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