Evie Shields reviews Burn The Empire, the latest full-length release from West Lothian four-piece The Snuts, who have followed on from their chart-topping debut album W.L. with an equally powerful sophomore record.
By Evie Shields
The Snuts are without a doubt one of the best bands in the U.K. right now, and with fan favourite tracks like ‘Glasgow’, ‘Don’t Forget It’ (Punk), and ‘All Your Friends’, they have a decent catalogue backing them already.
If you are familiar with any of their music—even on a first listen—you can tell that the band has taken a much different approach this time around, favouring a relevant protest-music driven style. The titular, opening track, ‘Burn The Empire’, begins with late British politician Tony Benn stating that “we don’t want people to be educated, healthy and confident because they would get out of control” which sets the tone for the entire record.
Burn The Empire is an explosive opener and it is evident that it is The Snuts at their most experimental. The album’s ninth track, ‘Cosmic Electronica’, is the best example of this – the chorus feels much less like an indie song and much more like a rave tune.
The Snuts were the first Scottish band to have their debut album hit number 1 in the UK since The View, with Hats Off To The Buskers in 2007, a fantastic album to be placed alongside. Naturally, with their second album, there were a lot of people with high expectations. So far, though, the general response has been fantastic, and the word I have seen to describe it most is “unreal.”
What makes this feel distinctly special is how each song on the album is entirely different. ‘Zuckerpunch’ is fueled with electronic angst, specifically geared toward the social media age and its negative effects on today’s world. ’13’ offers a touching commentary on the state of Britain’s mental health and the rise in poverty, especially because of the current political climate.
The driving force of Burn The Empire comes from its lyrics and storytelling. Whilst being unafraid to hold back, The Snuts deliver heartfelt songs, and to the core, all of these songs are one thing: honest. Honesty is a huge part of this album, it all feels very raw. Their strength and determination for speaking out are admirable, making them the unique band that they are.
Each song on this album flows expertly with the next. Burn The Empire is a necessary record. A personal favourite of mine, ‘The Rodeo’, is a song that I am certain was written to be played live. It is the perfect, classic, sing-along indie tune.
Where the album is packed with rage and fury, track six, ‘End of The Road’, featuring London-based singer-songwriter Rachel Chinouriri, shows that there is still hope, that it is still okay to hope. Vocalist Jack Cochrane sings, “if we figure things out, we can get back to the stars.” A beautiful, hopeful middle to an otherwise furious album.
‘Hallelujah Moment’ is most akin to their debut album, a pure, genuine Snuts track. Cochrane’s unique vocals bring this album together, and those vocals bring the tone right down on ‘Yesterday’, a much more personal song that feels a lot more vulnerable and is another strong favourite of mine.
I think that with every release, The Snuts sound only gets stronger and louder and, though the second album is always labelled the hardest for an artist to succeed with, this record is jam-packed with 11 absolutely fantastic tracks, and I can only see this band getting bigger.