After forming in 2012, Schnarff Schnarff have finally released their first full-length album, The Evil That We Do…, and it’s very much a mixed bag of a record.
Their name is an odd mixture of references – Thundercats character Snarf and the nickname for their hometown of Inverness – “The Schneck”.
It’s not the best name and doesn’t represent their music, which is a shame because it could put people off even giving them a chance.
‘Flip The Cross’ kicks the album off with some great bass from Paul Tracey, but unfortunately the rest of the song isn’t as strong and it feels like the wrong track to introduce the album.
‘This Is How We Get Some!’ comes next and is a catchy track with surprising indie influences, but again it isn’t an accurate indication of what’s to come.
By the third track the band seem to have hit their stride, as ‘Mario Level 1-2’ features the darker, grungier vibe that’s prevalent throughout the rest of the album and is much more interesting than the first two tracks.
The main issue with this album is that Schnarff Schnarff can’t seem to decide what they want to sound like – a variety of influences can be good, but too many makes for a messy sound and that’s how it feels here.
There’s hints of Nirvana in songs like ‘Cadaver’, Brand New-esque emo on the ‘Islands’ trilogy and ‘Whictey’ has metal influences.
Then there’s odd bursts of mid-2000’s indie-pop, on the likes of ‘Heavens No!’, which just don’t make sense and are definitely the weakest points of the album.
Tracks such as ‘Wolves’, with their darker sound is where the band really shine and where Myles Bonnar’s vocals work best.
The atmospheric feel of ‘Gothic Waltz’ is brilliant and the band manage to maintain that darkness even when the song becomes more upbeat, which is a real skill.
The penultimate song of the album is a re-recorded version of one of their older tracks ‘Urrrgh’, but it does stick out as sounding different from the rest of the album and somehow even sounds older.
The album ends on a moody note with part three of the ‘Islands’ trilogy, which closes the album well, and the use of the trilogy helps tie everything together more cohesively.
There’s some brilliant moments on this album, most notably ‘Cadavers’ and ‘Wolves’, but those moments can be inconsistent and the great songs are held back by the weaker ones creating a disjointed feel to the record.
This is a good band with a lot of potential if they can figure out their sound – with a stronger sense of direction and the confidence to maintain their style (and maybe a name change) Schnarff Schnarff would be a really exciting band.
Words: Shannon McGarrity