31 (noisy) songs
Tweet Tweet My Lovely
Duncan Redmonds (drums and vocals)
Dave Redmonds (trombone)
Lee Murphy (hammond organ)
Lee Erinmez (bass)
Loz Wong (guitar)
Fat Wreck Chords
Subtitle: It’s the little things.
Snuff is a punk band. It has been around for many years. The main man behind Snuff is Duncan Redmonds, a phenomenal musician (singer, drummer, composer) and a great guy. Hopefully, this is adequate for an introduction, otherwise I might have needed a couple of thousand words to cover the history section. Here, I just want to speak about “All You Need”, a good example of what I like about this band the most: Snuff is interested in unremarkable everyday life.
Duncan sings about a person in a state of oblivion. He sees “an empty shell of a man”. It can be convenient to think it’s about somebody else, but this empty shell is quite often myself. I spend long periods of my life without really being behind the wheel. I make decisions, I avoid making decisions (also decisions, depending on your definition), I do things that have consequences, I acquire opinions and I make plans and all this whilst being wholy blind. To me this song feels like mourning for this lost time.
I don’t really consider these things as little. These are the things that life is made of. It’s these “little” things that are often overlooked by musicians. They seem to only care about big, important, highly dramatic situations. OK, this might sound like a generalization, but I like to be fair when I’m bitching: all artists tend to focus on memorable moments, or cornerstone notions. As if delving into more common things does not provide enough ground for creativity. This is the beauty of this song. It’s pop music making a down-to-earth observation of something fundamental, something that affects us all, but is sadly left unnoticed.
The song is an upbeat punk number. This shouldn’t mean that it cannot be about a sorrowful thing. Good pop music can be very successful in tackling issues in a counter-intuitive way. All you need (no pun intended) is talent, honesty and accomplished songcraft. The same can be said about shoegaze, where some songs can be brooding at first listen, but are about joyful things (I was listening to “Small Caravans” by Blind Mr. Jones today, and while it sounds like a lament, the singer describes a beautiful daydream about how he’d like to live by the sea, reading good books and having a girl that he may fall in love with).
One could argue that in both cases (Snuff, Blind Mr. Jones) it’s just a matter of perspective. Blind Mr. Jones wants to feel fine, apparently because he doesn’t, while Snuff’s Duncan, well, sure smiles a lot. And… there goes my argument… I could try to find other, better examples, perhaps. Still, my argument in the previous paragraph proved empty (and fictitious, and any resemblance to real arguments, living or dead, is purely coincidental).
It goes without saying that “All You Need” is a beautiful distorted-guitar mess, lushly populated by cool sounds. It comes out of my favourite Snuff album, 1998’s “Tweet Tweet My Lovely”, when the band included an organ player and a trombonist. Everything here is done with very good taste, keeping a perfect balance between punk, strong 60s touches (I mean mainly the organ and the oohhs and aahhs) and perfect, handmade by a master tunesmith, pop. All you need is Snuff (pun intended).
This sense of taste is another aspect of Snuff that I admire greatly (along with their songcraft). Perhaps I am not the one to speak about taste: it is just too abstract a notion for me to define and discuss. But this band, juggling with all shorts of punk, pop and instrumental music, without being nihilistic, sugary or insubstantial, sure has it.
That’s it, song’s over. Thanks for reading, one person.
 Another perfect example of this would be “Brickwall”, a short, fast-paced punk song.
 They have also made a beautiful (punk at brakeneck speed) cover of “Song To The Siren”, if this helps me put my message across.