Andrew Reviews Potty Mouth’s “SNAFU”

Andrew Reviews Potty Mouth’s “SNAFU”

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Northampton founded, Los Angeles based rock band Potty Mouth have been through a lot in the last few years. But through lineup changes, label feuds and writing woes, the trio have emerged on the other side with their best work to date: the part pop, part punk, all fun “Snafu.” Join Andrew from Brooklyn as he shows you what’s good with Potty Mouth’s first album in six years:

 

The year is 1992, and Billy Corgan--the frontman for my favorite band of all time, Smashing Pumpkins--is dealing with a crippling case of writer’s block. It’s well known in SP lore that Billy’s escape from that period came with the completion of “Hummer,” the fourth track off their landmark 1993 LP Siamese Dream. And it makes sense as the song feels like the sonic equivalent of a breath of fresh air: reaching the end of a difficult period with something beautiful to show for it.

That’s the same feeling I get from Potty Mouth’s SNAFU. Their second album was released in March, a full five and a half years after their debut LP Hell Bent. In the interim, the band has dealt with the departure of founding member Phoebe Harris, as well as a fruitless flirtation with a major label that left them rightfully disillusioned with the music industry.

Their only release of new music during that period came in 2015 with the Potty Mouth EP, a self-released five-song EP which marked a transition in PM’s career, cementing the creative direction of their new lineup and their departure from major commercial releases. It also gave us fan favorites like “Cherry Picking” and “Creeper Weed,” which have become staples of Potty Mouth’s live show.

Finally, with the release of SNAFU on boutique label Get Better Records, the product of a half decade of ups and downs has been thrust out into the world. And much like “Hummer,” the record floats with a brightness and ease that stands in stark contrast to the process of creating it.

 

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The album’s cover sets the tone before its first track is even spun: colorful, fun and intimate. Potty’s Ally Einbinder (bass), Abby Weems (guitar/vocals) and Victoria Mandanas (drums) beckon you in with direct eye contact and a background of solid hues that feel like they could be the flag to the band’s very own fictional European country.

The music picks up on that theme from its opening chords, which immediately put you in the feel-good mood of a late ’90s coming of age movie. And maybe it’s the fact that half the tracks off SNAFU would feel right at home on the 10 Things I Hate About You soundtrack that makes me love it so much, but so what? I’m gonna listen to “Do It Again” or “Fencewalker” and embrace my inner Julia Stiles, and have a great time doing it.

If any song off the record is tailor made for a ’90s movie, though, it’s the album’s lead single, “22.” One of the several tracks off SNAFU that’s been in PM’s back pocket for years before seeing the light of day, the song is the perfect ode to that time in your life when birthdays start to feel less momentous and come quicker and quicker, leaving you to wonder, “am I doing this ‘life’ thing right?” Its music video is absolutely A+, as well.

 

Potty Mouth - 22 (Official Video)

 

Another album highlight with a great video is “Starry Eyes,” a dreamy eulogy to a relationship that shouldn’t have happened that opens with Abby lamenting to the listener, “I know I screwed up/cause I let you fall in love/and I let me fall in love/even though I shouldn’t have.” Much like the “22” video, this one has the band clad in multicolored garb sitting or standing in various positions, but also featuring cameos from a plethora of cute animals, including Ally’s own cats, Red and Kai (look out for them, along with some adorable baby goats and a corgi that’s much cuter than anyone has any right to be).

 

Potty Mouth - Starry Eyes (Official Music Video)

 

Other gems include “Plastic Paradise” and “Massachusetts,” the latter being a song about the band getting the heck out of dodge and ditching their small town New England roots for sunny California: “I’m moving out, it’s now or never/Can’t hang around this place forever/Hey man, some day you’ll understand/When you die young/In Massachusetts.”

Longtime Potty Mouth fans will recognize the song “Smash Hit,” which has made its way onto the record after being released as a single way back in 2016. Personally, this has always been my favorite Potty Mouth song. I think it captures everything that makes the band great: a catchy hook, lyrics equal parts simple and sassy, and of course, a thunderous guitar riff.

 

Potty Mouth - Smash Hit (Official video)

 

And if the album wasn’t already enough for you, just wait til you get to the last track, “Bottom Feeder.” SNAFU’s pièce de résistence, it features Abby’s best vocal performance of the band’s entire catalogue, with harmonies that evoke memories of grunge favorites like Stone Temple Pilots and Veruca Salt. It’s the perfect encapsulation of what SNAFU is as a whole: Potty Mouth’s announcement that they are here, bound to stick around, and not to be fucked with.

 

Score: going on a paintball date with a pegasus that shoots lasers out of its horn.

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