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Snuff – Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other


I seem to be haunted by organ-enhanced bands these days. Why does that sound so dirty?

In any case, Snuff is a not-so-easily-pigeonholed punk rock band from Britain long after it was cool the first time around, but not late enough for it to have been cool for the second. On this compilation, they skip through 18 years of “hits,” (it always seems odd to say that a punk band has greatest hits) as well as a second disc of covers, B-sides and unreleased material.

Usually, rarities and B-sides are for the serious collector only, since they tend to be lousy recordings, songs that didn’t make the cut for obvious reasons, or live renditions of the same greatest hits. Snuff’s rarities disc, though, is actually better than the “hits.” Their energy is palpable on the live tracks, and the covers (everything from Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” to Macy Grey) are bouncy, joyful and fun.

Their hits disc isn’t bad either, though the energy isn’t half of what it is on the live songs. It traces the progression from poppy punk trio (before America really put the pop in pop-punk) through the addition of a trombone (long after ska was out of favor) and organ, and over 18 years of danceable punk.

If these two discs were sold separately, I’d recommend the live/covers disc and leave the greatest hits alone. Normally, tongue-in-cheek cover songs leave me cold after a while—the world’s already got one Me First and the Gimme Gimmes—so I’m not quite sure what it says for Snuff that I like their covers and unreleased material best. Maybe their songwriting skills just don’t match up to their exuberance.


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