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No matter how it gets sliced or spun, ten years is a long time – for just about anything. In the music industry, a period of ten years can see the beginning and end of an era; really, the grunge phenomenon only ran from 1989 through 1994 and, before that, the world was still toasting hair metal bands like guns N' Roses and Motley Crue. By the same token, pop-punk bands like Green Day and NOFX were the mainstream squeezes immediately after grunge gave up the ghost, and pop dynamos like The Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys built up a giant head of steam in tandem with that. It's really just that simple; in ten years, empires can be built, enjoy unbelievable success and be leveled so completely that it's nearly impossible to know they were even there – so what makes a band like Snuff think they'll be able to come back now, ten years after they released Disposable Income and then just vanished from the spectrum (best-of comps don't count)?
The funny thing is, Snuff could mount that kind of comeback very easily – and are doing it right now. All Snuff has done with 5-4-3-2-1... (which is actually their tenth album) is hit the enormous “Career Reset” button located just to the left of the escape hatch that most bands have at the rear of their careers and started over fresh, sounding hungry and ready to try and impress.
They might might be hungry and ready to impress, but that doesn't mean Snuff has forgotten themselves in their downtime. In fact, many of the staple structures in Snuff's sound remain unchanged here; longtime fans who remember the band from back in the day will immediately be able to connect with songs like “There Goes Waltzinblack,” “Mumbo Jumbo,” “Rat Run” and “I Blame The Parents” as well as the oi-boy soccer song pop punk push with which each is delivered. In each case, singer/drummer Duncan Redmonds barks out his pseudo-societal indictments about religion, the crown and the perils of living in a consumer-driven world with a startling amount of vitriol, but the perfectly poetic paper in which each is wrapped makes it really easy to sing along – even if one isn't sure of the meaning behind every lyric. Those words combined with some incendiary melodic hardcore guitar lines courtesy of Loz Wong and Lee Murphy make this record the sort of gift which keeps on giving; while not every song is a sure classic (“EFL” and “Mary Poppins” both try to be intense but miss the mark where other less ambitious numbers nail it masterfully), the couple of small missteps made do not detract from 5-4-3-2-1... irredeemably, they just amount to a couple of hiccups which prove the band is still knocking the rust off.
But are they back for good? That's the question; with 5-4-3-2-1... shining so well here, it's easy to hope that Snuff has pulled itself out of mothballs for more than just a one-off, but no guarantees have been made yet. Until they are, all we can do is hope that 5-4-3-2-1... Perhaps? is more than just a stitch in time.
5-4-3-2-1... Perhaps? will be released on January 8, 2013 by Fat Wreck Chords. Pre-order it here , directly from Fat Wreck.