Review: The Snuts @ Engine Rooms, 19/10/22


While some songs feel a tad generic, their fantastic stage presence and continued want to evovle make The Snuts a must-see live band.

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Following the recent release of their Top 3 second studio album Burn The Empire, Scottish indie band The Snuts returned to Southampton on October 19th for the first time in three years for an eclectic gig at Engine Rooms.

But we were treated to an opening set by Heidi Curtis, a 19-year-old singer-songwriter hailing from Newcastle. Her brand of largely piano-based pop-rock may be quite different to tonight’s headline act, but with her especially strong vocals and stage presence, it is no surprise that it went down well with the crowd. The closing song Let It Rot was a particular highlight, drawing inspiration from the likes of folk stars Jade Bird or Marcus Mumford’s recent solo material, but with a more indie-rock attitude.

As the lights go down we are greeted by a flashy wall of various political interviews and footage from over the years, quickly dispelling any belief that The Snuts are alike any other band associated with the ‘dark fruits twitter’ scene; The Reytons, The Sherlocks, etc. The band came on to stage to Pigeons in New York, an at-first acoustic ballad that transforms halfway through into a raucous live spectacle before quickly transitioning into Glasgow, perhaps the band’s most well-known song; certainly a bold way for any gig to begin.

The band follow this with more upbeat catchy indie tunes: Knuckles, The Rodeo, All Your Friends and Always all go down well with the crowd with their chant-worthy choruses and frontman Jack Cochrane’s swaggering personality whipping them into a frenzy. However, it is when The Snuts vary their sounds and lyrical matter that they are at their most bold and interesting – which new album Burn The Empire largely features. Zuckerpunch, while possibly a little too on-the-nose on the debate on social media privacy and offering little more than the notion that ‘phones are bad’, features a Fatboy Slim-style beat that is quite refreshing after several songs of lad rock. That is not to say that indie songs with loud guitars and anthemic choruses are always boring, far from it, and The Snuts do this very well in the crowd sing-along moments of No Place I’d Rather Go and Seasons, but variety is indeed the slice of life – and the West Lothian four-piece off that up in hearty servings.

The Snuts. Credit: Callum Joynes.

Cosmic Electronica, perhaps the band’s most different song to the rest of their discography so far, employs a heavy electro-rock influence, with the chorus featuring a heavily distorted vocal that sadly is pre-recorded here tonight. While I understand that there are only so many sounds a four-piece can make on stage at once, it is a little awkward to see Cochrane gently miming along (purposefully) to his own chorus.

Punk elements come through too on clear crowd favourite Don’t Forget It (Punk), which first appeared on their Mixtape EP back in 2020, and the band get at their most political with the album title track Burn The Empire, a furious tirade against the modern political system – accompanied by the screen presenting various recent figures in UK politics adorned with devil features. Maybe California is a breezy summery song that while sounding just like something from a Center Parcs advert, perfectly helps remove some of the Autumnal blues as the weather outside becomes colder. This immediately transitions into a rockified version of the originally R&B-based End of the Road, which sees Heidi Curtis return to the stage once more, taking the place of Rachel Chinouriri from the studio recording. This version does make it sound a tad more generic, but Curtis’ raspiness fits in far better here than it would with the original production.

Ending on another experimental note with the perhaps unsurprisingly 90s dance-influenced Fatboy Slim, it’s clear that there appears to be two halves to The Snuts forming. On the one hand, there are the classic-sounding indie rock anthems that seem to be slowly phasing out, but are often the ones that are most appreciated by the crowd, on the other, it’s clear they don’t want to be restrained into one box – and why should they? It makes them far more interesting than most other indie bands out there.

The Snuts are on tour across the UK and Ireland until November, tickets can be purchased here.


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