Dogs and chocolate are two of the best things in the world, but it’s important to remember that they should not be combined. As much as Dog Chocolate declare themselves to be Snack Fans, you should not feed dogs chocolate because it’s poisonous to them. Safety first.
Snack Fans is a rough and tumble riot of silly punk, front-loaded with its finest moments. ‘Emotionally Buff’ is all tangled, helter skelter guitar lines and shouting about mouldy futons and being woken by burglars like the best early solo stuff by Graham Coxon if he’d forgotten how to play the guitar. It’s swiftly followed by ‘Plastic Canoe’ which features the frankly excellent lyric “It’s made from a rotational moulding process/Using polyethylene granules/It will never degrade, it will never degrade/My plastic canoe/It will never decay” wrapped around a bleepy earworm of a riff. The stop-start turbo punk of ‘Con Air’ is a tribute to sneaking into the cinema to see Nicolas Cage’s finest moment as a kid and basically falls apart after a minute. “Everyday’s the End of the World For Someone’ flirts with Buzzcocks-y melody and ‘Wish For A Cat’ brings to mind nothing more heavyweight than Allister‘s cover of the ‘Fraggle Rock’ theme tune, which isn’t something this writer thought he’d ever put into a review.
From there it all goes pretty indistinguishable punk. The point is, it’s all Very Good Fun, brilliantly daft lyrics, brilliantly simple riffing and the potential for it all to collapse in on itself at any moment. With 14 tracks in 27 minutes, it certainly doesn’t outstay its welcome. At points you get the feeling they’re too stupid for their own good but there’s something very knowing about it. Probably. Does there have to be something knowing about it? Not really. While there’s nothing wrong with punk being an expression of political anger at The Man, there’s also nothing wrong with punk being there for cranking up and pissing off everyone else on the bus. If you eat too much chocolate you’ll feel sick anyway, and the effervescent puppy dog energy on display here would be exhausting for longer than half an hour too.
The band say it best on ‘Be A Bloody River’, after listing one pointless endeavour after another, the call and response chorus of “Be a river, be a bloody river/I’m trying to be a river, I’m trying!” sums up perfectly the absurdity at the heart of the record. You want to read further into it than you need to; are they telling us to let it all wash over us and go with the flow? Or are they just dicking about? It doesn’t matter, just like everything.
Snack Fans is released on 18/03/2016 on Upset The Rhythm.