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Snuff – The Wrath Of Thoth (10 Past 12 Records)

Bands like Snuff are one of the many casualties to have suffered during this latest Covid pandemic. Admittedly, not to the same extent as the many deaths that have afflicted society, but dates scheduled in early May have had to be pulled and future live offerings left hanging in whatever the future might hold.

Having wrapped that up, for now at least, it is my great pleasure to introduce you – or perhaps RE-introduce you – to Snuff, a punk band formed in Hendon, 1986. Yes, you did hear me correctly, 1986 and the more I delve into their highly charged music, the more respect I hold. A band who has come through the death of their original guitarist/vocalist Andy Creighton, 2 periods of hiatus and a change in numbers that leaves the band almost unrecognisable, with the exception of Duncan Redmonds, on drums & vocals and roadie-cum-guitarist & backing vocalist Loz Wong. This is a band who found favour with Radio One DJ John Peel after he heard them play in Finsbury Park (November 1988, with Hersey and Rose Rose), thereafter inviting them to record a session for his show in January 1989, as they did for Steve Lamacq & Jo Whiley nearly 6 years later. It wasn’t long before they would go global, finding fans in Europe, America and Japan, having played live in these locations from 1990. They have recorded for several record labels, from Workers Playtime in the very early days, through Fat Wreck Chords, Union Label and K Records, finally settling on their own label 10 Past 12 Records, which is where we hear them today.

The opening number on this EP, with a sound that rings of early Green Day, possesses a certain charm and killer hook that will serve to catch even the trickiest of prey. A foundation of Redmond’s solid rhythm and Loz Wong’s slicing guitar, with a chorus that will encourage you to “…drink from the chalice of lunacy…“, whatever the consequences! This proves a fantastic start and will only serve as an aperitif for what’s to come. “Nothing To See Here” follows and is announced by Redmond’s kick drum, then into what is a polite request from perhaps refraining from observing a crime scene, “…unless you wear a white suit…“. But I don’t believe anyone would consider this number as a crime, just more charged antics from these guys of NW4 and fine songwriting in the process, even if it does clock in at only 2’26”.

A further three similar sub-3 minute journeys follow, with “Conducter 71 (vada version)” up next and it’s the passing of time now that they are concentrating on. “Time ain’t been so good to you, you ain’t been so good to you, the decade ratching up the years, wrinkles on your face, grey hairs…“, a wonderful theme suggestion to put to AgeUK perhaps?. ‘Poetic Nonsense‘ sees our protagonists performing another number in which a Green Day similarity springs eternal, more so in vocal phrasing, I can certainly hear a Celtic battle cry “…up with the seagulls shouting, down where the mudlarks sing, up where the bumblebees hum…“; ok so my enemy might not exactly take “battle” from what’s within my words, but you’re just thinking of a traditional battle, this is the 21st Century! Closing this wave of sub-3-minute journeys, comes ‘The Bells of Hell Go Ding-a-ling-a-ling‘ and as it would seem from the title a key change, although I don’t think we’re talking pixies and fairies! Instead, a reggae-infused introduction, then into “The Bells of Hell go ding-a-ling-a-ling, for you but not for me and the little devils have a sing-a-ling for you but not for me…“, a wonderful break in this album’s make-up, complete with a brass oompah-oompah, I’m thinking maybe mid-set and certainly at Christmas time.

Finally, we come to ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier‘, which commences with Redmond’s drum roll then into “Do you really think we give a shit about you, I bet you think we do, I think you think we do, do, do do, do…“. Fair enough, but this is a rant which can be turned to any faction in society, be it class, creed or the kind of person who wears a “…different pair of trainers…“. This is a wonderful close to the E.P., complete with blown raspberry and just total indifference to the perceived normal. Simply a brilliant stroke. So with their future hardly ripped from their hands, they could well say to this virus that is causing so much havoc across the world, and taking inspiration from X-Ray Spex, “Covid-19, Up Yours!“.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.