by Chris Nunley
I’m a minimalist and a firm believer in the maxim “less is more”. If I could describe Snailmate’s debut EP, Escargot, in three words, they would be: frenetic, dynamic, and fun. But in this case, few words can not give this album justice. From start to finish, Kalen Lander and Ariel Monet play pitch and catch in their own game of nerdcore punk. Sometimes you get heat, sometimes you get a curveball. The synergy between the duo is undeniably laid down on this legit release.
The opening track “Suture Self” throws the kitchen sink at you. Thick and glitchy saw bass lines over Lander’s rhapsody combined with a vocoded chorus jab your eardrums, while Monet’s powerful style of drumming hits you on the jaw for a knockout punch.
After being saved by the bell, “Sociomedia” allows you to get your knees back for a spell. A funky lyrical flow addressing one’s obsession by the amount of “likes” and comments and trash talking from behind a computer is hilariously accurate. The duo’s musicality is featured brilliantly on this track with synced odd-timed fills, tempo changes, and a cochlea-bursting bridge. Monet’s echo to Lander’s “Why did you change?” makes you step back and approach with care.
“Marrow” is Snailmate’s bipolar moment. A curious track starting out with a jazz swing and mellow rapping as if the batteries are wearing down. The mates then strap themselves into the electric chair and deliver a high charged assault before draining the power source and attempt to squeeze the last bit of juice from the old batteries.
“The Waiter” serves up the final ingredient in the Escargot stew. A haunting synth in tandem with the creeper-toned line “Call me the waiter, ‘cuz I’m always waiting baby…” sends a chill up your spine. This is probably the most fun and deep track on the EP. Playful sounds, varying tempos and lyrics about getting screwed by time or people is like a malfunctioning clock going forwards and backwards.
Sonically, the album breathes by design. Each instrument and vocal are meticulously well placed and the mixture of acoustic and electronic is perfect to a fault. Recorded, mixed & mastered by Larry Elea at Mind’s Eye, Escargot is a true dynamic testament to the “less is more” approach at recording music.
And now the mates are bringing their album on the road for an extensive 2-1/2 month tour. With stops as far east as New Orleans, north as Minnesota, to the Pacific Northwest, and back to the Southwest, the Mates are looking to take their sound everywhere and leave no stone unturned. If you’ve listened to the record but never seen them perform live, then you haven’t completed the Snailmate experience…frenetic, dynamic, and fun.
Give Escargot a listen here and consider making that purchase to help support the band on the road!