Tuesday, December 16, 2008

National Snack - Apply Machine EP

Hear The Track Here

Yet another artist that comes to me through the Rebelriffs blog, National Snack are a London based three member Alternative band, who kindly gave me a copy of their Apply Machine EP. Actually, its not so much an EP as half a full album. There are six tracks on offer in the downloadable version (costing a mere 4GBP) and a bonus hidden track if you buy the hard copy CD and even that is only a fiver. So here's a shout to my fellow Londoner's reading this review: support your local band, you know it makes sense. Moreover, each track on the Ep is rendered at 320kbps, and soundwise that's about as good as it gets and a terrific value for money.So, the only thing to know is, is it worth it? I am well known for cutting musicians a break when reviewing free downloads but when you pay hard earned cash for it, there has to be a much tighter frame of reference. So having plonked down the moolah, I'd be looking for two things from any unsigned, unknown artist: something recognisably different that I can't get anywhere else and (more important I think) sound fidelity.

Now anyone who masters tracks at 320kbps is already going to aware of that and indeed the general tenor of the track is excellent and when Mischief romped through my speakers, the sound was spot on. National Snack describe their music as Mungrul music and it certainly draws influences from every which way. Underneath it all though is yer typical understated music that London is justly famous for, and I would imagine these guys are a terrific live act. My Head Hurts is proto-punk (its a tad over a minute long) in a Clash stylee and again shows the bands strengths are songwriters and performers. On all of the tracks on this extremely well put together EP the vocals shine out, thanks to Gemma Storr and Joe Carlo (guitarist and bassist respectively) amply backed up by the powerhouse drumming of Phil Casey. This is music that jumps out of the speakers and wrestles you to the ground.

This is Not Enough is Gemma's turn to shine vocally, and she delivers with a charming London accent that had my toes curling and I live here, so God knows what the Americans will make of it. Although they may get incredibly bent out of shape because of the many cusswords this track contains, but hey, fuck 'em right? The one thing that became blindingly obvious by this point in the EP is that definitely fulfill both of my rules for buying unknown and unsigned artists. Working For The Devil, while not one of my faves of the EP, is nonetheless a track that has weight AND legs as do all National Snack's tracks and lyrically its spot on. Self Concious and Rock n Roll close out the EP with Rock n Roll having a much greater impact and - to be honest - I was REALLY taken by the line 'rock and roll can't save my soul anymore'. All told this is exactly what I needed to hear right now and increasingly (along with Mischief) became my favourite tracks from this outstanding EP.

Excellent UK Alternative. MUST HAVE (yep, you read that right)

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