Review: Snowing – I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted

Expectations are high for Snowing; the band – formed out of the ashes of Street Smart Cyclist, a band that had and has a reputation for being very good – released the hilariously titled ‘Fuck Your Emotional Bullshit’ last year, which was met with critical acclaim from fans of— well, this is where it gets tricky for me, dear reader, because the only tag I can bring myself to label Snowing with is one that generally brings about negative first impressions. ‘Emo’.

That’s right. Think of Gerard Way and his epilepsy-inducing hair or Vague Anxiety! At The Bingo Hall all you will, but that definitely is not what Snowing is. The emo I’m talking about is the raw, often chaotic lovechild of hardcore punk and college rock that started to build an underground following in the early 90s, with bands such as Cap’n Jazz and Braid still proving to be highly influential to music today. We Are Scientists and Scary Kids Scaring Kids (OK, maybe not the best example) take their names from Cap’n Jazz songs, while a personal favourite, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, cite Braid as an influence and tagged their music ‘tweemo’ in honour of the genre. This is something that warrants serious discussion on BBC Music 6 – ‘srs bsns’ – as it were.

So here we have it, Snowing’s highly anticipated debut LP. Released for free on Count Your Lucky Stars records, its sudden appearance on the internet took blogs the world over by surprise. It has taken me this long just to get over it. I’ve been playing it repeatedly since I downloaded it, and as it lasts just under half-an-hour, you’d need to be the sort of person who gets distracted by a one degree change in a room’s temperature to get bored – especially considering the blistering pace the album roars past at. Combining aggressive punk with bursts of musically-adept math rock twinkles, complimented with John Galm’s unique, somewhat shouty singing style, “I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted” isn’t always easy to digest, but it’s worth the trying. A few songs have appeared on earlier releases, such as delicious opener ‘I Think We’re In Minsk’, which is a definite highlight, but they still feel as fresh as ever.

There seems to be some progression from their earlier work, with the album feeling more melodic at times. “Damp Feathers”, a relative slow burner, really gives the band time to shine. They never match the grandiose of label mates Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) but that’s no bad thing – I personally don’t feel as if it would suit Snowing’s respective style. Snowing suits the aggression and intimacy of a basement show, whereas E!E!(IWALE) makes one feel as if they’re leading a Roman army into battle. Other highlights include ‘Malk It’ and ‘It’s Just A Party’ – though from talking to other people it seems this is the sort of album where everyone has their own favourites. Fortunately, every song is capable of being just that – a favourite.