Words: Karl Johnson | Photo: Maria Cecilia
Set aside from trends and fads in music, punk music in its many guises has and will always have its importance in holding a mirror up to society. Sniffany & The Nits offer up a vacuum-packed punk record which will leave you light-headed yet energized. While ‘The Unscratchable Itch’ feels like a necessary album for 2022, it also feels somewhat timeless in the broad vein of guitar music.
Room to breathe, who needs room to breathe? ‘Chicken Liver’, based around an addictive guitar line and heavy-hitting drum combination, brims with coiled energy and swells with an impenetrable vocal charge. Flying straight into ‘Good Boy’ there’s no let up, the band pick up the tempo which nearly hits breaking point, before shifting tact half way through.
The subtle dynamics within each track keeps the record feeling fresh, bass lines chug like a battered up muscle car while an ever-present guitar sound thrashes (see ‘Piggy Bank’) and at times glistens (see ‘Pearl Rope’). On ‘Clam Chowder’ the lyricism bounces with a beautifully awkward intensity, cymbals crash and the bass sits low in the mix – the track builds raucously and falls graciously into a doomy rock rhythm.
‘Frogs Legs’ and ‘Grandma’ bring a truly fearless energy, the latter offering backbreaking drumming that collides with circus-esque guitar parts that helter-skelter around the vocal delivery. The record ends on the effortless strut of ‘Dolly’, a superb instrumental arrangement that kicks with a slow-burning vocal that haunts at every turn of phrase.
‘The Unscratchable Itch’ feels like a unstoppable nightmarish dreamscape which you can’t seem to snap yourself out of, but when the soundtrack is this good why would you want to wake up?