EP Review

Snake Eyes – Health: EP Review

Five short, sharp, powerful bursts of “Grit Pop” from Brighton trio, Snake Eyes

Release Date:  16th June 20923

Label: Alcopop! Records

Formats: Cassette, Download

Yet another highly enterprising outfit from the musical hotbed of Brighton, Snake Eyes – Jim Heffy on guitar and lead vocals, Nicole Gill on bass and vocals and drummer Thomas Coe-Brooker – are purveyors of a brand of music they’ve christened “Grit Pop,” a powerful, punchy offshoot of punk that sounds remarkably similar to the powerful yet articulate say-what-ya-gotta-say-in-two-minutes power pop of the late 70s.

Snake Eyes came together in 2020 and they’re attracting significant levels of attention.  They’ve received quite a bit of airplay on national radio and their gigs diary is crammed full of festival and concert bookings for months ahead.  It seems fairly evident that Snake Eyes is a band on the rise…

Health, the band’s new EP sees the band headed in a distinctly punky direction, as evidenced by the three tracks from the collection that have already seen light of day – and airplay – as single releases.  Co-producers Thomas Coe-Brooker and James Simpson have opted for a lo-fi sound, but without compromising the band’s instinctive tightness and, in true punk tradition, none of the songs overstay their welcome – Health is a refreshing return to the days of the two plus-a-bit minute pop song.

It’s second single, No-one Is Truly Cool that gets the Health show on the road.  It’s a song about respect, inspired when guitarist Jim met a member of a favourite band at a recent festival: “…he was stand-offish and, to be honest, a bit of a prick, giving proper ‘too cool for school’ vibes.  The whole exchange left a bad taste in my mouth.  The fake ‘cool guy’ thing can only go so far.  No need for a fake personality – just be real, be yourself.  Even Keith Richards puts down the whiskey and cigs sometimes and watches ‘The Last of Us’ in his pants with a bowl of Nik Naks like everyone else.”  The song’s chugging bass intro offers a true signal of intent, the guitars are tight and crisp and the drumbeat is sharp and punchy and, with lines like “I’m sorry, what you see is what you get – translated: ‘You’re a prick, I bet,” the lyrics don’t take any prisoners, either. 

Snake Eyes: l-r: Thomas Coe-Brooker, Jim Heffy, Nicole Gill (Photo: Jessie Rose)

Current single, Crybaby, has something of an Ian Dury feel, albeit with punkier edge that anything the great man would usually serve up.  It’s a solid rocker, driven along by Nicole’s gritty bassline, with lyrics that exhort the listener to feel comfortable in his/her own skin.  Jim once again takes up the story: “We doubled down on our love of britpop with this one to make our most bombastic and obnoxious ripper to date.  All of us in the band suffer with our mental health from time to time.  It’s become much less of a taboo subject, which is a really healthy change, but I do think there’s some way to go.  I’ve accepted myself as someone who struggles with keeping my head above the waves.  Sometimes it feels like being happy or content is always just out of reach.”   

Grunge is the order of the day for Medicine, a one-chord promotion of the delights and benefits of taking a dose of some extremely dodgy-sounding chemical concoction or other, before we return to late 70s tight, punchy, high-intensity power pop with lead single, 40 Winks.  The song is an anthem to insomnia, a condition that has affected Jim for as long as he can remember.  As he explains: “…It’s about feeling beaten down by yourself and the goings-on of the world, and a general feeling of helplessness.  Appreciating the little things can go a long way. [40 Winks is] a bombastic banger for those operating on four hours’ sleep.”

Health is a short collection – just five tracks – but within a playing time of just around 11 minutes, Snake Eyes manage to confront an impressive range of important, topical, issues, including self respect, respect for others, pharmaceutical dependency and insomnia. It’s brought to a comforting close with the optimistic, reassuring Nothing Better.  To a Kinks-like guitar riff, Jim signs off with the best advice he’s able to give: “Just remember – know your worth, know you’re loved, don’t need nothing more, nothing better.” Sound advice indeed.

Stimulating and refreshing!

Watch the official video to Crybaby – the third of three singles to be taken from the EP – here:

Snake Eyes Online: Website/ Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram

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