We spotted a tweet by Craig Angus (Savage Mansion) a while ago recommending an album that hadn’t registered on our radar: ‘Unearthed’ by Snout.
Now, 2019 was a fine year for music and, as will always be the case, we completely missed some releases. This was one of them. However, we’re not too proud to admit that or to go back and air something we feel should be heard in retrospect.
Typically we can no longer find said tweet so it makes this all seem like a strange dream. A bit like this album!
There is very little by way of information about the artist or people responsible (we have no idea!) online. The Bandcamp page points to them originating from Cumbernauld, near Glasgow. Which makes sense given the origin of the shoutout.
So what of ‘Unearthed’? It’s an extremely ambitious debut album, weighing in with an abundant 22 tracks.
Snout’s sound is a garbled mix of folk, retro pop and psychedelia.
The opening track Counting Hours is packed with distant harmonies. It’s starts like a lo-fi cross between Pet Sounds Beach Boys and Sgt Pepper Beatles. It then picks up an upbeat fuzz akin to Animal Collective playing Super Furry Animals. It’s a rush.
The Animal Collective sensibilities appear at various points, particularly on Fountain Of Clear Fiction and the herky jerky Up My Nose. The latter also veers off into surreal Ariel Pink territory. This is another undoubted influence. Between The Law points again to this. Weird, suddenly deep or whacky vocal deliveries are inserted the brilliantly discordant pop soup. Also see Win-a-bagel.
The ultra retro psychedelia continues on the pitched guitar plonk of the Os Mutantes-like Spinning Top, the crazed garage pop of Slippin and the utterly far out T’nous Yb Nusgod.
There’s also something of The Birthmarks or Irma Vep about the vocal delivery, melody and light, psychedelic aesthetic of the aforementioned Spinning Top.
The album gets weirder again. The piano led The Doctor’s Deal at Goosefronte, features Beefheart-esque grumpy barks, beautiful harmonies, a creaky door sample and an abrupt ending!
The slow lull of In A Hot Tub In A Hurricane has a Sebadoh quality to it, but also features those distinctive Beatles mellotron type sounds, before kicking into a little pop ripper.
Snout genuinely sound like they recorded this material in the 60s.
Mostly In The Tender Armpit (really… that’s what it’s called) is a schizophrenic slow song that interrupts itself with its chorus. This is all wrong-brained in a wonderful way and, by now, we’re only at the halfway point.
Ad Vita Tum with just guitar for accompaniment is a sweet drunk ditty. It’s contrasted by the brilliantly disjointed rock n roll of Yeller On The Threshold. It’s like Of Montreal if they retained their 60s sound but applied it to their 70s prog approach.
Caput Draconis offers up a fun and cartoonish ditty with comedic keyboard and vocal line. Resolution has great atmospheric harmonies and light drones. With George Harrison guitar twangs, it’s a great woozy pop song.
The heavily effected vocals of Creased by Watercourse wash through gentle shimmering guitars, pissed keyboard chords and drums that sound like the drummer is about to fall asleep.
The final six songs are like a little suite of normality, in comparison.
Habitation is a gentle, psychedelic ballad with simple guitar chords. Cosmogony is a great stomping retro pop song that will no doubt appeal to fans of The Birthmarks.
There is some lovely lead guitar work on indie pop nugget Realization, while Johnny’s Way is very much like Aldhills Arboretum era Of Montreal.
Walter’s Well sounds like a cut from Animal Collective’s nu-folk masterpiece ‘Sung Tongs’. It’s very silly. At one point you can literally hear Snout’s vocalists laughing at themselves.
The album ends with another soft, woozy ballad, Home And Dry which crescendo’s in growing psychedelia.
‘Unearthed’ is full of great little pop nuggets, strange-brained creativity and lovingly old school sounding production. Had we heard it last year it would have certainly sat in our end of year list.
We’re so pleased to have heard Snout. They also an equally great EP last year called ‘Well Deserved’ that is well worth checking out too.
You may enjoy this if you like: The Birthmarks, Irma Vep, Ariel Pink, Thee Oh Sees, Syd Barrett, Of Montreal, The Beatles (late era)