The Snips Blackouts

The musical shift in the Snips (formerly the Ceremonial Snips) camp over the past few years isn't unlike that of pals/frequent tour-mates/Canadian labelmates the Flatliners on their excellent recent album, Cavalcade. Where once hard ska-punk sounds were the songs' foundation, the horns, now nicely used as understated, auxiliary layers, as on "White Ghost," have taken a back seat to anthemic melodies and dynamic experimentation on Blackouts. The Welland, ON group (now fronted by trumpet player Ricky Pridmore) segue seamlessly into rich, thick-throated pop punk on "Black Leather Vest," recalling vintage Attack in Black then filtering it through an arena rock generator. It's a sound that brings out the best in the band's energy and chemistry, both as songwriters and performers. Some of the old aggression still lingers, such as on "Finkle is Einhorn," a song that's both messy and technical, clearly coming straight from the guts, easily capturing Blackouts' well worn line between radio polish and road grease. (Drive)