December 08, 2002

The Snitches "Star Witness'

If I were the god of Rock and Roll, I'd be rather disgusted by the crap that I allowed to be released last year In My Name. The Vines, The Hives, White Stripes, Strokes, Liars, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Clinic--all of these bands will have much to answer for when my Rock and Roll Judgement Day comes. The Snitches, however, will go to heaven and will miss out on the persecution. Why? Because they're not trying to be anything that they aren't, and that is a great power pop band. Throw in the fact that they've been making music for nearly a decade, and you'll understand why they're grandfathered out of the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

What really makes The Snitches great is the fact that these kids DON'T sit still at all. To best illustrate this, I'll run down a few of the sounds and styles I noticed when listening: Elvis Costello, Rancid, Plimsouls, Pixies, Power Pop, New Wave, Pop-Punk, Raspberries, The Beat...well, you get the point, don't you? The Snitches offer up a healthy and hearty musical run-through of all things fuelled by too much caffeine and too many girls, and I love it! Star Witness is the record you've always known and loved, but different.

But what really makes The Snitches great isn't that they sound like those bands or that they've developed those musical styles, but that they've taken all of these things, these inspirations, these twenty-five year old moments of brilliance, and have made a sound all their own. The ability to sound fresh and new while making music that really hasn't changed much over the past quarter century is no easy feat, yet The Snitches have pulled it off. Sure, songs like "Right Before My Eyes" (a radio single if ever there was one) and "Wednesdays On My Mind" (ditto), recall the powderpuff power-pop days of yore, but "Willie" and "Crazy Talking Girl" don't--and they don't sound like some poor, pathetic bunch of folk simply trying to revive a dead musical style, either.

Utterly catchy and charming, totally fun and thoughtful, you really couldn't ask for a nicer record than Star Witness. Sure, The Snitches may not win any awards for innovation, nor will they claim any titles of overt originality, but who cares? When you can write a song that elevates the soul, puts a smile on someone's face, and makes them dance and have a good time, then the reward really is in the finished record, and for that, Star Witness is a fresh sound for today, for fans of music of yesterday and today. And unlike those "rock" bands of today, at least The Snitches can take some comfort in the fact that they aren't mediocre.

--Joseph Kyle

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