by EA Poorman
Fort Wayne’s Snarks should be a national treasure by now. In their four years of existence they’ve been consistently great when it comes to putting out frenetic shots of punk-inspired rock and roll. Kendra Johnson, Bart Helms, Zach Kershner, Dan Kinnaley and Dan Arnos have been a part of the Fort Wayne music scene for a combined 150 years(give or take a century) and everything they have been involved in outside The Snarks compound has been consistently great. So really, it only makes sense that The Snarks as a Voltron-like unit of pissed-off, jangly rock would be amazing.
I came to know the band through their 2014 debut release Night At Crystal Beach. Within four songs clocking in under ten minutes The Snarks blasted punk rock, new wave, and even bits of surf music into a tight shot of aggression that even The Germs would have tipped their hat to. The Snarks followed that up with It’s Like…Carpe YOLO, Man, Dickin’ Around With The Snarks, and now we’ve reached Sleeping With The Snarks. The band continues to get in and get out without much fuss. They have yet to get into their prog-rock phase yet, and I think we all can be happy about that. The Snarks are a no muss no fuss kind of rock unit.
Consistency is something I value greatly in life. I like my beer to be consistently cold, my pizza consistently hot, and my rock and roll consistently loud. Sometimes my beer gets too warm too quick, occasionally pizza can be a greasy disappointment, but with rock and roll The Snarks always deliver. Johnson is one hell of a front woman. Her voice is booming and authoritative, and she delivers just enough sass and, well, snark, that you know she’s got a hell of a sense of humor about her. But most importantly, she owns the songs she sings. I’d like to see anyone in the Fort hold a mic up to her. Come on, I’m waiting. The two guitar attack of Zach Kershner and Bart Helms is this buzzing storm of jangle and single coil bite. These two create articulate noise. It’s an aggressive guitar attack with a purpose. Sort of like a sped up Verlaine/Lloyd, minus all the ego and heroin. And the Dans are holding things down in the rhythm section. Not an easy task to keep a band like The Snarks grounded, but Kinnaley and Arnos lay down a solid foundation to where the band can take off from.
Sleeping With The Snarks isn’t very long. It’s two songs just over four minutes. But really, it’s not how long the song is but whether it gets the job done. As usual, they do. “Waddayasay” is a meat and potatoes shot of post-punk angst. It sticks to your ribs and keeps you satisfied long after the song ends. Production-wise the song sounds raw and in-the-moment, as if the band recorded together live in the garage. But this isn’t a lo-fi affair. It’s crisp, bright, and it pops out of speakers. Likewise with “Fickle”, the just under two minute barn burner that has that Johnson sass that showed up on earlier Snarks joints like “Make It Stop” and “Suntanning Bitches”. Musically it’s tight and keeps things simple without being simplistic. The band never drop the forward motion, which makes Sleeping With The Snarks a listen you’ll put on repeat.
The hell with it, I’m officially making The Snarks a national treasure. They are one of the best bands Fort Wayne has produced in years. Live they’re a force to be reckoned with and are always putting out consistently great tunes. Sleeping With The Snarks is proof in the pudding.
Download Sleeping With The Snarks over at Bandcamp.