I spent most of '88 with my head back in '77. Sure there was good new shit in that time but the overwhelming tone of the times was a downer. Pop-metal and synth-pop ruled the airwaves and speed-metal and jangle-pop owned the underground. Regardless of your feelings for those underground genres (personally, distaste for the former, appreciation for the latter) they seemed like products of a punk rock divorce, wherein one party got the speed and the aggression and the other side got the hooks and the smarts.
But 1989, speed, aggression, hooks and smarts regrouped, in little pockets around the world. In that year we had a phalanx of under-produced but ass-kicking American 7" and 12"'s by Jawbreaker, Mr. T Experience, Sloppy Seconds, Operation Ivy, Screeching Weasel, Bad Religion and Green Day plus stellar album albums by Canada's The Doughboys, Australia's The Hard-Ons as well as the Britain's pop-punk trifecta: Mega City Four, Leatherface and Snuff.
While there is a modest-sized group of bands with drummers who do part-time lead vocals, like The Doughboys, Snuff's Duncan Redmonds' plays the front-man from the backseat all the time. Such a skill puts Redmonds in a rare class of full-time lead-singing drummers, including the aforementioned Hard-Ons and later-period Genesis. While Keish de Silva was eventually replaced in The Hard-Ons and Phil Collins had to bring in Bill Buford for help, Redmonds stands alone with his near-superhuman ability be able to drum so frenetically and still sing just fine.
The first Snuff e.p. from 1989, which definitely caused a stir in North America, defined the band''s sound, melodic yelling, frantic drumming, blaring guitars and lyrics that dealt in a matters of a personal nature. The band recorded no cover songs for their debut, produced by Mekons leader Jon Langsford, that crucial part of their style would have to wait till the full-length album later that year.
So was Snuff one of the best things to come out of 1989? Let us know in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the link for the Not Listening e.p.)
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