ssssnakes - Kissss Thissss [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)


Kissss Thissss [12-inch] (2011)

Specialist Subject

2010 marked the beginning of something special for UK punk. To celebrate this occasion, Specialist Subject Records released a four-way split 7'' featuring four bands from the UK that were making the trip to the U.S. to play the distinguished The Fest in Gainsville, Fla. Curiously, ssssnakes were not one of those bands.

ssssnakes have just released their debut full-length, Kissss Thissss, on the same record label that released that 7''. The promotional material for the album cites the Descendents as a sound-alike band, and on the quick bursts of "Donald Trump", "It's Cool" and "Three Times a Lady", it's a suggestion that is founded in truth. The band don't take themselves very seriously and carve their niche in the UK scene somewhere between the abrasive, gin-pickled vocals of Bangers and the energetic and erratic Break the Habit.

The lyrical content isn't really worth mentioning, but suffice to say that it is extremely direct and to the point. This isn't a problem, though, when the vocal performance is as impressive and impassioned as the one on show in tracks like "Bumblebees" with that great, yelled chorus harmony of "Chicks are the devil!" The most memorable moments of the record are shown in the spoken-word sections of "Feel Better" and in the punk sea-shanty "Dylan Is Dead"; both clearly showcase the band's ability to stand out from the crowd when they want to. The melodic flourishes of surf-influenced lead guitar in songs like "I'm a Loser" and "Piña Colada" should draw many comparisons to the likes of Warren Fitzgerald from the Vandals and are used effectively in keeping things interesting and filling the gaps between the verses and choruses.

Despite every compliment I can throw at the band, however, "Microphone Head" is among the worst songs I've heard all year.

This four-piece from Swansea, UK have created an album that works well on many levels. Most importantly, though, it brings a smile to my face. It would be fair to call it a mindless and lyrically unimaginative record, but in a way, it feels like this was their intention: to produce an album of songs that were high on passion and energy above all else. They've certainly succeeded at doing that.

Kissss Thissss