Spare Snare – Sounds

Recorded to tape by Steve Albini at chem19 recording studio, Spare Snare's Sounds is the perfect introduction and retrospective to a band of real cultural significance

Album Review by Amy Kenyon | 18 Jul 2018
  • Spare Snare – Sounds
Album title: Sounds
Artist: Spare Snare
Label: Chute Records
Release date: 20 Jul

Spare Snare is standing and observing all that they've achieved from the pinnacle of their musical careers spanning over 20 years. Although the band has much to celebrate – including a back catalogue of twelve albums from which the tracks for their new album Sounds have been selected – they recognise how much the industry has changed over the years. In a time of digital sounds the band have opted for a purely analogue recording of these tracks which comes close to capturing the raw energy and lo-fi aesthetic of a live performance.

Sounds was recorded to tape and engineered by a music legend, Shellac frontman Steve Albini – who's worked with the likes of Nirvana, Pixies, The Breeders, Mogwai and PJ Harvey in the past – at chem19 recording studio with assistance from Paul Savage. Although the album has been attracting attention for Albini’s input, the engineer perceives himself as just another "resource" for bands to use in order to capture and enhance their existing sound.

Employing the trumpet-playing talents of Randolph's Leap's Ali Hendry on Action Hero and Grow, bagpipe drones courtesy of Fraser MacInnes on Action Hero, electric slide guitar from Dave Burnett on Grow and additional vocals from Emma Pollock on We Are the Snare, Sounds is likely the type of record which might result from gathering your closest, most talented group of friends together to collectively record and reimagine an unofficial greatest hits album.

Sounds was recorded, mixed and pressed all in a matter of days; an exercise in what can be achieved despite potential constraints. The album manages to capture the uniquely Scottish sensibility of brief confidence, or gallousness, with an underlying self-deprecating streak. It is both the perfect introduction and retrospective to a band of real cultural significance.

Listen to: Action Hero, Grow, We are the Snare