The Snuts have been slowly building towards releasing their debut album since they formed in school, years before the glimmer of stardom even flickered, eventually releasing their first taste of music in 2016. Since then, they have evolved and grown as a band with each of their EPs. Even though their sound has matured, they have kept that same spirit and hunger alive to produce a debut album that poignantly rounds off the first chapter of their career.
The album opener, ‘Top Deck’, is an ode to their former teenage selves who dreamt of one day doing this for a living. The reality, of course, is that they now have three sold-out hometown shows at Glasgow Barrowlands on the horizon. The track was penned by frontman Jack Cochrane a decade ago, when he was just 15-years-old, and it’s an emotionally charged and stripped back opening number.
W.L. chronicles the journey from being teenagers wasting the days away in West Lothian through to the bright lights of the stage, living their collective dreams. The clashing of eras, childhood and adulthood, is evident on the record that sees The Snuts come of age and celebrate their progression all at the same time.
The title of the record is another nod to their youths, as Cochrane previously told Far Out: “It’s actually after ‘Whitburn Loopy’. We’re from a town called Whitburn, and every town in Scotland has what we call young teams, but it’s basically gangs. It’s a nod to how we started out on the streets and in the forest, playing the guitar, drinking cider and stuff like that. I feel like because the record is such a progression, it’s nice to name it something that meant a lot to us back then.”
Bold funk-driven tracks like ‘Always’ and ‘Elephants’ show their sonic progression and contrast nicely with the more minimal moments on the record, such as the passion-filled ‘All Your Friends’. There’s a variation of styles on offer throughout the album; a changeable sonic structure that maintains a cohesivity through its lyricism and gravitating hooks, which plays into the band’s searing live shows — unashamedly their bread and butter.
The most arresting moment on the record comes on ‘Glasgow’, which is the track that started their journey back in 2016, but for the album version, they re-recorded it with every fibre of their being. Preened and pumped, the amended version is like the original on steroids.
Managing to maintain a youthful spirit while not being the same exuberant kids who recorded ‘Glasgow’ all those years ago is a task that The Snuts rise to on W.L. and, poetically, it draws an affectionate line in the sand under their past.
Making a debut album is an arduous task, as the band who wrote the songs that made their fans fall in love with them can often resemble a different group to the one here today, and The Snuts are no different. However, it would be sacrilege to leave songs like ‘Glasgow’ and anthemic closer, ‘Sing For Your Supper’ off the record. They sit side by side with newer, more polished efforts such as ‘Somebody Loves You’.
W.L. announces exactly who The Snuts are across the thirteen tracks and makes for a rapturous listen. While the album hops between indie music micro-genres throughout the record, most importantly, underpinning it all is good songwriting that keeps everything together.
Even though The Snuts aren’t Gen-Z friendly bedroom pop – or fit into any other categories currently in vogue – one thing that will never go out of fashion is solid songwriting destined for audiences to sing at the top of their lungs back to the bands as if their lives depend on it.