May 29, 2024

Dog Chocolate – Snack Fans

UPSET THE RHYTHM      18.3.16

Most of these songs are less than two minutes long, the singers squeal and stumble, the guitars are a wall of fuzz and simple melody patterns – picked one note at a time. Rinky-tink keyboards and cardboard box drums. The whole sounds like it was recorded in a cellar on a two-track reel to reel with inadequate attention paid to the needle hitting the red zone. I love it, love it, love it. Buy it, make the band famous; confuse and ruin them.

Aside from the music, the lyrics are great and the non-step energy is a blast. Plastic Canoe moves from an aesthetic description of the thing digging into the hips as the singer sits out at sea, before moving into a description of the manufacturing process. Con Air, a mere minute long, is a frantic slab of memory about queueing to see the film underage. I Don’t Know is a load of mad waffle about surveys, somehow improved by being shouted by non-singers. Roundabout (“I’m on a roundabout, I’m on a roundabout”) has a great chorus and an elliptical route through memory.  Don’t forget, this is all ramshackle and spontaneous. When they are shouting about “trying to be a river”, it is heartfelt, silly and intense at the same time. The song is one man lamenting his crapness while another consoles him and the crap one fails to be consoled. Deep maybe; madly entertaining and silly, too.

My favourite of the whole set is Everyday’s The End Of The World For Someone; a bonkers momento mori, reflecting on mortality and collapsing into a huge chorus regularly. I am reminded of own-label releases, pressed in tiny numbers, heard once on late night radio and tracked down in obscure record shops in far-away large cities. This track reminds me of obscurantists, The Notsensibles and their one off pointless “I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher” (okay, so I am very old). But then the next track makes me smile – “This cat is born from a wish for a cat”. Bookmarks is simply about how hard it is to keep many books on the go when you’re not going to get round to reading them with so many distractions. Not sure why the topic needs manic energy but I’m glad it has it.

Fourteen songs, twenty-five minutes and a perfect blast of post-punk rattling shouty nonsense. This band deserve to be huge but would be crap if they were.

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