When “Overhand” Sam Snyder isn’t acting as recent Danger Mouse signees Maybird’s lead axe man, he’s eating 10 Strips and listening to 13th Floor Elevators apparently, and our days are a little brighter for it.
OHS (Overhand Sam, referencing his approach to the neck on the guitar), just put out his latest LP ‘Longer Legs’ and it’s one of the years more ambitious releases. On the surface it seems like a traditional 60’s Psych Rock genre exercise, but he’s offering up a lot more to the listener here. 11 songs tightly arranged and packed with enough ideas to reward repeated spins. Singable hooks, danceable rhythms, experimental zone outs, and oh yea…guitars. Guitars on guitars on guitars.
The opening track, ‘Dust’ welcomes you as a friend would, inviting you along for the trip and leads us nicely into the albums best song and best all parenthetical title, ‘(Pulling Shapes)’. Our second chapter here begins as a slinky little number with drums slipping in and out like early 90’s Boom Bap and a driving vocal before it drops into a Zeppelin worthy groove that’ll stick to your ribs. Some whammy flourishes then carry’s you into a sing song climax that gives way into a riff so salacious, one anticipates how it could open up in the live setting.
Lead off single contender ‘Lalalazy’ takes a page from John Lennon’s Beatles classic, ‘I’m Only Sleeping’, pondering the futility of working yourself to death. Apparently life kinda sucked back then too.
Hi lights elsewhere like the fuzz rocked ‘Bitter’, and the surprisingly power pop closer ‘Silver Lining’, contain rhythm tracks that punish and choruses that sparkle.
“All the best thoughts have been thought before”, our host sings on the collections most adventurous track, ‘2ndary Colors’, which kinda sounds like a funkier Procol Harum fronted by Damon Albarn. This comes off as more of a question rather than a definitive statement.
This seems to be the conversation Sam is having with himself and has finely documented it on this record. If everything’s been done, then why not enjoy yourself and make the best music you can within the confines of physedelia? Or, why not push the bounderies into fresher territory. Granted, acts like Tame Impala and Unkown Mortal Orchestra have fused electronic and hip hop into Psych Rock in recent years, but whatever happened to playing the guitar?
Guitar bands have been hijacked by glum hipster types who like telling people that their favorite Beatle is George Harrison. Side note: George Harrison is not your favorite Beatle. He was a humorless moralist so give up the ghost. There are only two acceptable answers to the question of whom your favorite Beatle is and you don’t need to be reminded of those options.
Anyway, back to Sam Snyder. He’s reminding us all that playing the guitar is fun and so is ripping on George Harrison. Where should this post punk tune go? How’s about a speed picking solo?! Sounds great Sam! Whether he’s channeling Johnny Marr on the title track, Kevin Shields, (Pulling Shapes), or Jonny Greenwood (all over the place), he’s sending the message that you can be murky and have a good time doing it. If that doesn’t deserve our attention I’m not sure what does.
Longer Legs is available on Bandcamp but if you get the CD it also has 2 extra tracks. One melodic sweeper that wouldn’t be out of place on a late 90s Radiohead record and a final track where he thanks you for listening. It’s sorta like Last Call off Kanye West’s College Dropout, just with less witty lyrics about luxury cars, and more modesty. 8/10 Ben Stephanus