The Snarks Night at Crystal Beach is a firm reminder to my ears why I loved bands like Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Television, and Talking Heads so much. Much like their post/punk forefathers, The Snarks make aggressive, angry music that feels just as thought out and tailored as a Genesis album from 1974. There’s nothing tossed off about their songs. Night at Crystal Beach is post-punk jangle for both those that remember the beginnings of post-punk, and those just now learning of it. A reminder that great rock ‘n roll is still being made.
The four songs contained on The Snarks EP are in and out quicker than you can Hilly Kristal, but that’s the point. No song is going to wear out its welcome here. “Circles” comes barreling out of the speakers like a caffeinated Dead Boys. Johnson’s vocals rip through the guitars like a razor through tissue paper. There’s a messy guitar solo that puts one in mind of classic Robert Quine. “Fever Shakes” is less about speed and more about attitude, with the band channeling Bikini Kill. “Suntanning Bitches” is equal parts menace and sly humor. It should be playing on college radio stations across the Midwest(college radio still exists, right?) “Human Sacrifice” starts out like a Mudhoney b-side before the band punches up the speed into something like The Germs and early Blondie. Four songs. In and out. There’s nothing left to do but hit play and do it all over again.
There’s a new sound brewing in the Fort. It’s tough and precise. It’s volatile and well-contained. It’s brash and subtle. The Snarks are, on the surface, a punk band with at times regal tendencies. They wear the spirit of punk proudly on their sleeves, but Kendra Johnson, Bart Helms, Zach Kerschner, Dan Kinnaly, Dan Amos, and former drummer Ben Hoeppner are doing more than just punk rehash. They’re forgetting that the 90s and pop punk ever occurred. The Snarks are going back to where punk and post/punk collided. Their new 7″ EP Night at Crystal Beach is a love letter or sorts to those forefathers that emerged from the grit and grime of lower Manhatten in the mid-to late 70s. Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Television, Talking Heads, Devo, as well as UK post-punk mavericks Wire play a big role in shaping the jangle and jagged riffs The Snarks create. If this 4-song EP is any indication, we may have a post-punk renaissance on our hands.