Sneaks, aka Washington’s DC’s Eva Moolchan, delivers an underwhelming, and undeveloped, debut album.
‘Gymnastics’ is a collection of meagre songs from Sneaks, that fail to honour their post-punk roots.
Sneaks’ debut album, ‘Gymnastics’, is a perplexing listen, but perhaps for all the wrong reasons. For an album that is indebted to the sounds of punk and post-punk, she struggles to channel the genre’s energy, or edge for that matter.
The instrumentals across the album are incredibly stripped back, employing minimalist bass lines and sparse drum beats. This playful simplicity works best on the tracks ‘X.T.Y.’ and ‘Down in the Woods’ where the rhythm sections are catchy and instantly memorable. The rest of these songs, however, are in desperate need of additional instrumentation.
Only on ‘Someone Like That’ does Sneaks stray from her drum-bass formula, throwing some sour synths into the mix. It’s an intriguing moment, but one that also goes to show how undeveloped some of these tracks are. Many of Sneaks’ songs feel criminally short, introducing an interesting musical idea, before coming to an abrupt, and often frustrating, finish. With a total run time of 15 minutes, listening to ‘Gymnastics’ is hardly a rewarding experience. If, as Sneaks says, most of these songs ‘came together pretty fast’, perhaps she should have spent more time expanding her sound.
Her vocals also fail to bring anything to the table. While her relaxed voice complements the sparse instrumentals, at no point does it convey any real passion. The lyrics are similarly uninspiring. Sneaks may have set out to experiment with language and ‘twist the words’ of slogans and ads, but not one song here manages to explore, or even set out, an engaging narrative or concept. Just take the song ‘This Is’, where the phrase, ‘this is education’, is soul-crushingly repeated over the track’s entire duration, inspiring no emotion in the listener, other than severe boredom.
While some of the beats on ‘Gymnastics’ could serve well on the dancefloor, when it comes to solo listening this album is largely uneventful. For now, one can only hope that Sneaks expands her horizons on her upcoming musical projects.
Until then, we will have to contend with this unremarkable album which is, more often than not, about as captivating as watching paint dry.