Apply Machine EP
December 8th 2008
Scatty Cat Records
National Snack– Working for the Devil
There is something offensive about a lofi band with fuck-you aesthetics. London based National Snack exudes this ethos unapologetically. Their music is a messy discharge of rock and roll not meant for paradigm friendly genre definitions. Listen people, they are called National Snack—you think they care what you think of them? I am barely able to write a review that doesn’t simply mention that they exist. Not because they aren’t distinct or impressive, but because their music is made entirely on their terms; listen and think of them what you like. National Snack have no problem making sexually solicitous songs. Their guitar is fuzzed over and basic. Loud gristle is the only concern for these mungrel music makers. The band is fronted by singers Gemma Storr and Joe Carlo, both of whom guiltlessly execute their tracks. They aren’t here to induce awe or weigh the heavier philosophical quandaries of life; they want to be loud, energetic, and foul mouthed. Although, “We are the disillusion, too well fed for a revolution” from Self Conscious is a pretty damn good line.
Apply Machine is a mixed bag. The opening track Mischief is all funk-punk energy, but something about it sinks below board. I love all the talk about mouths, but there are times when Joe and Gemma vocals are poorly intertwined. Disjointed, it certainly does not prepare the listener for what is to come. The four tracks that follow Mischief are what make Apply Machine succeed. Had Working for the Devil been a single with three bonus tracks—Self Conscious, My Head Hurts, and This is Not Enough—the release would have been perfect.
From the moment My Head Hurts begins, it is entirely apparent that this band’s idea of a national snack is piss and vinegar. Their angst against life is tempered by self assertive declarations.
“Cause every fucking day, it’s all the fucking same.”
-This is Not Enough
Gemma’s center pieces—Working for the Devil and This is Not Enough—are the glitter of Apply Machine. These tracks are excellent, showcasing National Snack’s best qualities. The EP retires with Rock n Roll, a track full of punchy guitars and clever melodies. Again though, Joe and Gemma’s vocals do not seem to work the way they were intended. Perhaps what alliviates this concern is that while there are thousands of bands that will spit in your face as much as look at you, few show the potential of Gemma and her boys. They are funding the release of their full length by selling space on the back of their record for £10. If it tells you how many of contributions the band needs, and indeed are receiving, to finish their record- you get a magnifying glass with your contribution so that you can amuse yourself at parties by telling other people that you helped develop this British trio’s album art.