Spare Snare – Sounds, track-by-track

We get an exclusive insight into Spare Snare's latest album Sounds – recorded by Steve Albini – with a track-by-track explanation from frontman Jan Burnett

Feature by Jan Burnett | 08 Oct 2018
  • Spare Snare

Ahead of its limited edition cassette release on 13 October for Cassette Store Day 2018, Spare Snare's Jan Burnett talks us through the Dundee band's latest release Sounds, recorded by Steve Albini at chem19 studios. Listen in the Spotify player below (click here if it's not displaying properly) and read on for Burnett's track-by-track.


Action Hero
“Action Hero is originally from our second album, Westfield Lane, which was a Stateside only solo affair, and bizarrely has become rather popular in the underground scene of Argentina. The simple acoustic intro perhaps deceives the listener into what they are going to get to hear on the rest of the album. My cat at the time, Abi(gail), is namechecked. For anyone interested in facts, it features a 180-year-old bagpipe playing a couple of drones.”

I Am God
“This has become a bit of a focus track on the album for radio and online and was almost on the reserve list for us to record. This is the only song not to have previously been released before on something physical; [it's from our] album Our Jazz which was only ever released digitally. It’s not about me being God.”

Super Slinky
“The oldest song here, written in 1992 around a sampled bass and drum line. We deliberately chose tracks for this album from our whole 25-year career and this sits nicely next to Hope You Never Go, our newest song on this album.”

Hope You Never Go
“The original version of this came out in 2017 on our Unicorn album, possibly our most political record. This track is more about personal politics with a small p.”

“I always saw the potential in this simple song, riff and message. We used trumpet to play the original piano riff and my father Dave added a simple electric slide to great effect. A protest song.”


We Are the Snare (feat. Emma Pollock)
“We’ve known Emma Pollock since touring with The Delgados in 1995 and it was nice that we could get her to help on the backing vocals here. This has turned in to a bit of a mandate, slightly serious and slightly absurd. Animals and Me, our third album, is so variable in recording techniques and sounds, but surprisingly quite a few of those tracks continue to appear in our setlists. A popular fan album.”

Photograph Me Properly
“Again, a bit of an absurd lyric in the truest sense, though the simplicity of asking what is happening to photographic developing labs and paper is a naïve and honest question. We like to look OK in photos, just like anyone.”

And Now It Is Over
“Title wise, the obvious last track? Maybe. But it sits perfectly just here and slows the pace before a couple of faster tracks. The tracklisting and length of the gaps between tracks on an album is very important to me as it is partly creating suspense or showing off an intro or outro. Obviously when the CD is released in November there is no Side One and Side Two but there will be the new gap between Grow and We Are the Snare.”

Smile, It's Sugar
“A little alternative ‘hit’ back in the day, it was nice to refresh it with the Albini sound.”

“On paper and around a record label's CEO table this would have been chosen as track one off the album. A firm favourite with anyone who knows our catalogue. It's way too obvious for us and ends the album, in my mind, in a ‘proper’ way. I remember playing a rough demo of this to the band in 1993; I wasn’t sure it was any good.”

Sounds is released on cassette tape with exclusive art for Cassette Store Day, 13 Oct and on CD, 30 Nov; Spare Snare play The Great Eastern, Glasgow, 12 Oct