[sic] Magazine

Snowden – Soft Slow Syrup EP

The last we heard from Snowden, jaded after extensive touring with Kings Of Leon , was a promise that the follow-up to cult classic album, Anti Anti would be “as OK Computer was to The Bends” . Even taking into account Jordan Jeffares notorious self-belief that was some statement. Anti Anti was a fine debut. (A quick flick back to our review of the decade shows you the esteem I hold that record in.) Raising the stakes in this manner can be a dangerous game, especially for smaller bands. Could Snowden walk the talk? Would they? Three years later we’re none the wiser. Beset with label problems Snowden have been forced to keep the sophomore on ice. But if we are to stay hungry a little while longer this EP will do fine as an appetizer.

Soft Slow Syrup is being offered via Snowdens official website on a donations basis. I’m tempted to say they bypassed four albums and leapt straight to their In Rainbows – commercially certainly, stylistically it’s less of a jump. This EP is a slight departure from previous work but remains recognizably them . Opening track ‘No One In Control’ is the sound of a band wiping bleary eyes after a long slumber. Snowden have garnered comparisons with The National but ‘No One In Control’ is the first time they’ve truly started mining that gospel-tinged indie. Spiritualized are another obvious reference point here but ‘No One In Control’ is merely a teaser. Threatening to erupt at all times it never quite boils over. It’s tantric. But if it does leave us high and dry it does so in the splendid company of ‘Don’t really know me’, another nailed-on, Snowden classic in the vein of ‘Anti Anti’ (the track). ‘Don’t really know me’ is a natural progression from the Remix EP. Those Editors -esque guitars are pushed to the back of the mix in favour of an honest to goodness, dance floor frug.

Let’s rewind – Anti Anti was one of the more successful modern takes on the post-punk thing. – an exercise in vocal tonality and it was tight . Soft Slow Syrup is looser, soulful even. ‘Anemone arms’ is positively warm. Jeffares releases his croon, so often locked away on the last album. It’s like Jeff Buckley fronting The Killers . And Say Hi fans won’t like it but ‘So Red’ shows that Jeffares is the best around at oohs & aahs .

This EP is the sound of quiet restraint. Successor to the album it isn’t. But as an exercise in some kind of Snowden holding pattern it will do very nicely thank you. I think Snowden feel it is time for the introverts to move their hips. They are ready to become the outsiders champions.

It’s left to closing track ‘No words no more’ to evoke the familiar darker side of Snowden. Moody, abrasive and puzzling it somehow hangs in the air like a black cloud without ever opening up. We await the deluge.

Listen & Learn

Download & Donate

[sic] review of the decade