It’s been almost two and a half years since The Snowdroppers released their last album ‘Too Late To Pray’. In that time, the Sydney foursome have grown up a lot and yet they’ve managed not to lose any of the primal energy and fun that made their debut so enjoyable. Where that album was raw and at times lyrically and musically immature, ‘Moving Out Of Eden’ sees them refine that rawness with a much tighter performance and lyrics with a much wider appeal.
Live, the group is very much driven by singer Johnny Wishbone’s antics and engagement with the crowd. On record Wishbone is a bit more sedate, which allows the emphasis to instead fall on the outstanding musicians who provide the backbone to this group’s blues-based rock sound. Their sound is a welcome change from the generic and sleepy folk rock that abounds at the moment. Instead, these songs are unpredictable but still steeped in rock sensibilities that make the most of the group’s love of blues and instrumental skills, particularly guitarist Pauly K. Their 2009 debut saw Wishbone deliver vocals closely resembling those of Melbourne group 67 Special’s lead singer, Ash Santilla. There are still moments of this on new album ‘Moving Out Of Eden’ (the title track and ‘Excavating’ in particular), but increasingly we see Wishbone experimenting and discovering his own voice, which makes his enjoyment when singing even more obvious.
Wishbone seems to be enjoying himself the most on upbeat rockers ‘Sweat’ and ‘Juliette’, both of which could very easily pass for a Living End track, as could the similarly rockabilly-sounding ‘Sour Grapes’ . ‘So Much Better’ is a classic rock track that should be the lead single from this album and which has every right to be a huge hit for the group. Whilst it probably could have been polished a bit more, it is nonetheless a classic with a great singalong chorus and a chance to show off Pauly K’s guitar skills. It’s the perfect introduction to this exciting group. ‘White Dress’ is another song people will not be able to get out of their heads and which sounds surprisingly similar to the Them Crooked Vultures’ track ‘No One Loves Me & Neither Do I’. The Snowdroppers are not doing anything particularly new, but in their hands this still sounds fresh and interesting. Even more so are their live shows which is where a number of these tracks truly come alive. ‘Another Lover’ and album closer ‘Plaster On A Smile’ are designed for crowds and, as we experienced first hand at Bluesfest (read our review here), Wishbone works the crowd perfectly with them. They are a live act worth seeing and if nothing else, this is an album worth listening to just so you can sing along at their shows.
This is a broad album, encompassing the wide range of sounds this group is capable of producing. Their eclectic sound is held together though with their love of the blues which gives their songs a depth that is lacking from much rock music these days. It’s been too long since an Australian band’s been able to show us how much fun blues-tinged rock can be. The Snowdroppers are definitely capable of it, let’s hope they’re given the chance to share their sound with the rest of Australia.