Snowden - Slow Soft Syrup
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: March 15, 2010
Snowden’s first full-length for Jade Tree,Anti-Anti, blended post-punk and shoegaze almost perfectly to create one of the most staggeringly beautiful albums of 2006. Songs like “Like Bullets”, “Anti-Anti”, and “Between The Rent and Me” are instantly accessible and the album itself had a lovelorn feeling about it and seemed like the perfect soundtrack for nights in the city. At the time, Snowden and their danceable indie rock were like the black sheep of the Jade Tree family, a label noted for milestone releases from bands like The Promise Ring, Lifetime, and other indie and punk greats. Then the band seemingly dropped off the face of the earth following tours in support of the album and a slot opening for Kings of Leon. Although the press heaped lots of praise on Anti-Anti, for the most part it seemed like an underrated album that never really caught on as big as it could have. Almost four years later with scarcely any news coming from the Snowden camp, the band released their new EP Slow Soft Syrup as a donation-based download. The EP is to tide fans over as the band gathers funds to release their sophomore full-length effort.
Slow Soft Syrup finds Snowden re-tooling their sound a bit. Anti-Anti had a few songs that immediately hooked the listener and were upbeat from start to finish, an exhilarating joy ride that balanced out the more somber tracks that featured vocalist Jordan Jeffares singing just above a whisper. This time around, Snowden cut those songs out and focused on songs that slowly unfolded and sprinkled in subtle moments of melody that manage to worm their way into your brain after repeated listens. “No One In Control” and finds the band utilizing keyboards more than in the past, which adds a new dimension to the band’s sound, but could scare away new listeners. “Don’t Really Know Me” opens with programmed beats and reverb-drenched guitars that provide the sort of brooding vibe that pervades most of the EP. Jeffares’ airy vocals just barely rise above the hazy atmospherics and shimmering guitar lines.
Fans that yearn for the more straightforward punch of Snowden’s earlier work should instantly fall in love with the band’s brilliant cover of Love and Rocket’s “No Words No More”. Although this track falls in line with Snowden’s new style, buzzing guitar lines flit in and out and Corinne Lee’s superb bass lines recall the darker sides of Anti-Anti (“Innocent Heathen”, “Sisters”). Snowden may draw inspiration from the depths of despair, heartbreak, and general gloominess, yet the music that comes out is breathtakingly beautiful and engaging.
Although on first listen I missed the immediacy of Anti-Anti, I quickly fell in love with the new direction the band are taking. Between these five songs and the other new material the band has played live, I have a feeling the upcoming full-length will be nothing short of amazing.