The closing of one chapter and the beginning of another can be said to be at the heart of Snake That Ate Its Own Tail, the new album from Chicago punks 2Minute Minor. As the band suggests in its liner notes, the release can be and maybe should be looked at as two separate EPs as the first five of its tracks were written and recorded with one line-up mid-2018 and the remainder in the March of this year with a revamped set of personnel bridged by the constant presence of vocalist Wiley Willis and guitarist Bob Shields. It is a seamless change though in the context of listening to a release which only impressed and aroused from start to finish.
The initial quintet of tracks sees guitarists Virgil Lloyd and Mike Perlmutter, bassist Noam Ostrander, and drummer Zach Bridier alongside Willis and Shields. Keep Your Guard gets things underway, immediately setting down rhythms that hungrily rap at the senses, riffs springing from guitars with matching verve before it all momentarily pauses to return with greater urgency and aggression. Willis roars in the midst of the contagious trespass, mischievous hooks and grooves colouring the hardcore bred incitement as it easily sunk under the skin.
There is a definite Dead Kennedys hue to the song and many that follow yet a spice to the band’s own, if not unique, certainly individual holler as reinforced by Fallen Empire. With menace in its breath and virulence in its stomp, the song brews a cantankerous proposal which proves very easy to engage with though that depth of infectiousness is only elevated by the following Bottom Feeder. The track is pure contagion even with its voracious snarl and rapacious bursts of urgency and one of the biggest highlights of the album, though it is more than matched by the esurient rampage of Conflict Machine. As so many, it has a blink and you missed it length but makes use of every second it owns with feral catchiness and hungry enterprise.
Epic in comparison is the two and a half minute lure of Resistance ’87, a Clash flavoured roar with a swagger in its gait and spirit uplifting energy in its breath which deliciously smoulders as the song flits back to ska roots and subsequently uses them to weave another virulent escapade.
Corruption Runs Deep is the first of the songs with the band’s new line-up; guitarist Jeff Hostetler, bassist Sean Kelly, and drummer Brad Swanson completing the quintet. A enslaving bass coaxing is the spark to an attitude loaded expulsion of sound and voice but again one as infection soaked as it is defiantly belligerence fuelled while unleashing thirty seconds of untamed and uncompromising punk rock. As swift a presence that it has, it stilled wholly gripped and aroused like all around it to set up ears and appetite for the street combat and resistance of Gentrified Ghetto; its intransigent defiance to political corruption and apathy rife just and as the sounds driving its holler are inescapably involving.
Featuring Omar of Negro Terror, Wesley Willis is next to step up, the song inspired by the singer-songwriter and visual artist who led punk band Wesley Willis Fiasco back in the nineties. With wild gang shouts and hooks that tease as they bite, the track effortlessly had the body bouncing and throat roaring before, and after the skit of Stop Spending ZAP Records Money, the indomitable presence and reflection of the album’s title track stands up to seize its own plaudits. There is a feeling of being reborn within the band with its new line-up, the album’s title reflecting that and Snake That Ate Its Own Tail, the song, echoing and exploring the circle of life and death with its inimitable punk heart.
2Minute Minor is a band which provides action packed songs and as their album proves, a big shake-up of members cannot blunt their energy or songs which are as sharp and biting as they are pure contagion.
Pete RingMaster 11/07/2019
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