SNFU - In The Meantime And In Between Time (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


In The Meantime And In Between Time (2004)


It's been a long time since we've had new material from SNFU. An EP on Alternative Tentacles in 2000 was the most recent, and if you're looking for a proper full-length, you'll have to dig up FYULABA from 1996. That's a huge span of time, musically speaking, but the long running prairie / west coast Canadian punk act haven't let the break dull their edges and In The Meantime And In Between Time is a solid addition to their catalogue.

In particular, the first five tracks on the record are together some of the most distinctive punk rock released in 2004. "Cockatoo Quill" and "Cheap Transistor Radio" would each make fine singles and prominently showcase the strengths of the band's songwriting, in particular Marc Belke's propulsive yet playful guitar work and Mr. Chi Pig's defiant, humorous, and oddly insightful lyricism. "Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump," with its bizarre narrative and memorable chorus, ranks among my favourite SNFU material. Things veer off into stranger territory with "I Think Fine Art's Fine," a tribute (of sorts) to Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, but the off-kilter sense of humour is classic SNFU and a welcome dynamic on the record. Throughout the album the band respectably manages to balance the lighter material with more serious subject matter and very rarely falls too far to one side or the other.

Not all the material maintains such a high level of quality though, and the second half of the record seems less engaging than the start. It's the combined effect of a rather unrelenting pace and the fact that the two weakest songs on the album are sequenced one after the other. "Der Heavy Head Dance" and "The Birdman Of Malmo" are unfortunately each too incessant and lyrically uninspired to keep the momentum up, particularly when compared to the superior material that they're packaged with. On the whole, however, there's more that's good about this record, and interesting tracks like "One Legged Bridge Jumper Breaks Good Leg In Plunge," and "Elaine Elaine" outweigh the momentary sags.

As the first release on the band's own Rake Records, this album marks a stage in SNFU's history that mirrors the one taken by their countrymen in D.O.A., that is that the band will continue to release interesting music, but on their own terms and out of the spotlight their prior Californian labels afforded them. However, don't let the lack of press hype hold you back, as In The Meantime And In Between Time is a welcome return and well worth the effort in acquiring.