Lulling listeners into a false sense of security with the fairly calm opening to their first track on “Harpoon”, Philadelphia’s Snack Truck come forth with a musical assault that vacillates between FBTMOF and your typical indie-rock band. The mastering of “Harpoon” offers a clean slate for the band; the guitars are clean, being distorted just enough to make for a nice sound but not enough to crowd out the rest of the instruments. Drawing heavily from the heavier edge of the grunge movement (Hum, Tad), Snack Truck are still as furious as their straight-up noise contemporaries. They can trade blows with a Lightning Bolt or Pg 99 and still be standing at the end of the day. The incorporation of a myriad of sounds (the xylophone-sounding instrument) and Zappa-esque guitars of “The Belgian Congo” allow for individuals of different stripes to each find something different with the act. Much like the amazement one feels when the deep-throated, cookie monster vocalist of a hardcore band turns out to be puny is the amazement I’ve felt about the fact that all the noise on “Harpoon” is created by two kids, Matt Krofcheck and Nate Rappole.
“Harpoon” may be that the harder edge of the spectrum but maintains the focus on solid arrangements and tight instrumentation that is more indicative of indie-rock and more progressive styles of metal. Instead of continuing striving for the most brilliant technical lines, a track like Snack Truck’s “Pheasant” is evidence of the pop sensibilities of the two bandmates. With a guitar line that sounds like it would be acceptable in an old role-playing game, the simple melodies found on the track are just as emotionally affecting as anything that can be found on this disc. Simple and incredibly complicated are mated during “Terrier of the Pale Moon”, a track which is restrained but still seething with the intensity of prior tracks.
There is no doubt that the members of Snack Truck would work perfectly in a more traditional setting. Hell, one could throw a tuxedo on them and I would have no doubt that they could render music as beautifully as any city’s symphony orchestra. However, their experimentative nature shows a strength where there is a weakness in the latter groups. Snack Truck can play their instruments but are not reigned in by the expectations and the traditions levied upon them by the elders of rock.
Top Tracks: Terrier of the Pale Moon, The Belgian Congo