It’s A Myth (Merge Records)
Eva Moolchan, who operates under the name Sneaks, is someone who clearly appreciates brevity. Her debut album Gymnastics saw a release just last year, and clocked in at a minuscule 14 minutes. But it wasn’t a record that felt rushed or half-arsed, it was a short-sharp-shock of punk infused pop that showcased what can be achieved when combining a bass guitar, drum machine and enough attitude to not just ‘bring the boys to the yard’, but keep them there forever.
It’s A Myth sees Moolchan retain the ‘hit ’em hard, hit ’em fast’ ethos that’s paid off so well in the past, as the album’s 10 tracks are a combined 18 minutes (a trajectory that suggests a ‘traditional’ 30 minute set of tracks will finally happen at album no. 5 – but we’ll have to wait and see about that). Despite its length, or perhaps because of it, It’s A Myth carries with it a surprising amount to unpack.
When compared with Gymnastics, it’s clear that It’s A Myth is more sonically complex that its predecessor. Moolchan hasn’t abandoned the straightforward aesthetics of bass and drum machine minimalism, but she’s layered up her sound with a select choice of synth loops and samples that give the album an understated, bombastic 80s pop flavour.
Opener “Inside Addition” bounces with a Casio rhythm that serves as a hotbed for Moolchan’s direct, near spoken word delivery. “Look Like That” is driven by a tightly wound, hypnotic low-end synth riff and compressed beat that energetically body-pops it’s way across the track.
But Moolchan is always on hand to remind you that her punk influences are never far away. Tracks like “Hair Slick Back” and “PBNJ” resonate with direct bass riffs that sit high and heavy in the mix, accompanied by abrasive four-to-the-floor beats that come together like X-Ray Spex throwing a bloc party with Lizzo. Somthing that is perhaps unsurprising when you learn Helium/Ex-Hex frontwoman Mary Timony had a hand in production duties.
At points, It’s A Myth feels a little too rough around the edges and feels more like an accomplished demo rather than a fully realised album, but these moments are few and far between. As a whole, It’s A Myth sees Sneaks raising her considerable game and leaves you with the feeling that this is an artist on the brink of something truly groundbreaking.