Snuki, Demo 001 (Futile Force, 2022)

I needn’t school you on Georgia’s wealth of hardcore and punk, past and present.

Aside from the DIY hotbed that is Atlanta, Snuki rides for Athens.

Though at times as weighty as the marble used to build the Parthenon, I’m talking about the unlikely and eccentric town that birthed R.E.M., Pylon, and the B-52’s. The state’s northeastern most reaches has long been a fruitful and endlessly inventive scene.

Enter Demo 001, Snuki's bruising, brooding, and batshit opening gambit. 

The limited cassette release is getting the hometown handling courtesy of Futile Force tapes. The label is well worth your attention, sporting a short but stout discography. As part of the raddest of tetrads, Snuki sits alongside labelmates ConSec, Fat Jock, and Foodeater. The fledgling label’s latest is a six-song set from Snuki’s already unique and warped sensibility. Let’s get to it, y’all. 

The slow build that births “Exile” is a fitting introduction to a band that’s quite frankly a bit tough to pin down. Equal parts noisy stomp and creepy crawly, the leathery bass run quickly devolves into a  treble heavy attack. Stacking cavernous vocals and lurching rhythms, the whole affair oozes nihilistic disdain. Near the song’s finale, there’s an absolutely stunning solo.

Buried beneath the densely layered maelstrom, the band is clearly the work of seasoned players. Widely, Snuki eschews guitar histrionics for damage and noise laden primitivism. 

The follow up track “Breaking Out Teeth” has moments that feel as if the band is unafraid to dispense with song structure all together. They deftly alternate between blown out bashing and abrasive, clattering chaos. The track pairs well with the “blink and you’ll miss it” third track “!!!”, a sub-thirty second rager. Built around its skin-flaying pace, Snuki’s not so secret weapon is self-awareness.

While equipped with the talent and precision to stop on a dime, they instead play with the reckless abandon of a band driving blindfolded. Clearly adept players, the band beckons musical oblivion with wildly shifting tempos and structures. At their core, however, the band still seems keen to serve us blistering and noise laden hardcore punk. The sense of casual disregard for the listener, intentional or otherwise, is wildly fun. 

Again making the case that we need more movie samples as track intros, “Shitkicker” doubles down on the sampled, cinematic plea from an unidentified protagonist decrying, well, shit-kicking music. Far and away my favorite track on the demo, here the band peddles an unsettling seesaw of a riff.

At once blunt force and subtle, there’s a sinister vibe to the slowly increasing tempo. Between the anxious heartbeat of the drums and low slung bass, it’s enthralling when it explodes into a blasting bludgeon. Alternating between fast paced attack and a woozy mid-pace, the lynchpin here is the drummer. Much like the rest of the band, it’s as feral as it is just plain fucking weird. Salute. 

Photo: Mase Pearson 

Elsewhere, both “Laura Palmer” and the closing track find the band at their most song based. While I certainly wouldn’t call it accessible, per se, there are hardcore hooks a plenty entrenched in their noisy, grunge-inflected freak out.

This is a hell of a way to end a year. Can’t wait for 2023. Let’s hope we all get shit-kicked. Athens for the win. 

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