La Snacks Rock, Indie Rock

For pub rockers now and then, the trick is to hide the seams. You want songs that are clever and original, but you don't want to seem like prog rockers or professionals while playing them. La Snacks, the best of the bands Wednesday night, have this approach perfected. Their songs are detailed and smartly constructed, but they don't play them elegantly. It's as if they were a nice piece of furniture carefully and professionally assembled, but then with just a few hinges and screws deliberately removed in strategic places to assure that the desk wobbles all over the place (but never collapses completely). This is hard to do. A lesser band would simply play it straight to the ranting of front man Robert Segovia, but the guitar-bass-drums trio in La Snacks allows Segovia's particular gravity and his tendency to stretch out and emphasize lines in weird, not strictly musical places to pull their playing apart slightly. The effect of this is hard to describe. It's more cumulative than restricted to any single "wow" moment, but by the end of the set, I found my natural tendency to reduce and criticize utterly overwhelmed. I felt more like finding people and persuading them to listen to the band. Like a fan, and I hardly ever feel that way about new bands these days. 


It's true that they have a couple of songs that don't change very much, but the chemistry between Segovia and the band is such that even their repetitive pieces have peaks and valleys, tension and release. They remind me of so many different bands that I love -- The Fall, Art Brut, Fugazi, Guided by Voices, even (oddly, but delightfully) Rage Against the Machine -- but they're defined by their songs, not their sound, so they're seldom imitating. They even played a slow one, with their drummer moving to keys and a clunky rhythm loop holding the beat down. It was one of my favorite songs of their whole set. 


What's more, they have star power! I've largely given up on trying to take local bands to task for having no stage presence, because outside of the genres where it's still cool to look like you care about your own music (hip-hop and metal mostly) nobody has any. Nothing against their great records, but it's a sign of the times when Spoon are the dominant "indie rock" force in Austin -- every Spoon show I've attended has had all the energy on stage of a regional water reclamation committee meeting. La Snacks have a singer who has a stage persona and acts it out in force, wittily haranguing the crowd and singing his lyrics audibly -- almost as if he wanted people to listen to them! Segovia's songs have story lines, setups, and payoffs, and they also are dense with rock-nerd references if you care to go digging for them. (Which I do -- the tune that begins "I had a dream/crazy dream" is cribbing from Led Zep's "The Song Remains the Same.") La Snacks bring off these little nods with attitude and their own spin -- it's not plagiarism, it's commentary. It's yet another dimension than makes them a band I want to hear more and more of, rather than yet another that exhausts their range after two and half songs.

--Big Western Flavor



At a Glance

"The blissfully slacked-out La Snacks would have found good company in the mid-’90s sandwiched on a Pavement/Archers of Loaf bill, but even Pavement rarely wrote songs as simultaneously snarky and reverent as “Emo Kind of Love." --The Onion 

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