Album Cover
Ten Words for Snow
Spit on Electrics
Boy Arm
April 20, 2004


Michiganders Ten Words for Snow, on their debut EP, Spit on Electrics, firmly establish themselves as a power pop group with potential, citing influences ranging from dark shoegazers Swervedriver to the Police and XTC. Equally sophomorically raucous and literately refined, their overall sound is one of enthusiastic start-ups experimenting with sound and style, and this is, indeed, one of their major strengths - their songs, while consistently catchy and appealing, completely vary in style and dynamic. From the beginning to the end of the (admittedly short) EP, each song is recognizably different from the one that precedes and the one that follows. Whether this would hold up for the full length of a long-player we don't know, but here, anyway, the stark differences from track to track make each song its own thing - Spit on Electrics is singularly solid and strong, despite (or because of) each track being independently varied.

"Painted Mouths", arguably the strongest track, opens with a guitar riff that strikes an what seems like an immediately dissonant tone until it is put into its context, piquing the listener's discerning interest straight away. I have very little idea of what the vocals actually say, but they are delivered with convincing energy, while at the same time possessing a sort of distant restraint. These vocals of Justin Berger's at some points bring to mind a more tuneful Jeff Mueller (June of 44, ca. "Engine Takes to the Water"), especially on "Instants Get a Stretch". Head-bopping rawk-n-roll tune "Between 3 Places" sports guitar work so simple and effective you swear you've heard it before, and maybe you have, sort of, but that's not really important, is it?

"Lotion Song" incorporates synthesizer backing in tasteful amounts, fading out and into "Insides", which marks the album's lowest point, lacking the something that the rest of the album has in abundance. The closing title track regains a good deal of what was lost, but still ends the album on a less impressive note than that its beginning.

But if an EP serves only to whet one's whistle and give a good example of what a band sounds like, then Spit on Electrics is just about completely successful; a twenty-odd minute blast of colliding styles and ideas, compelling and conspicuous. At their highest points, which are many, Ten Words for Snow play some extremely enjoyable stuff, and even at the EP's lowest points are they at least pleasant. A full-length from these fellas had better be forthcoming, and quick.

Noah Jackson

Track List

  1. Painted Mouths
  2. Instants Get a Stretch
  3. Between 3 Places
  4. Lotion Song
  5. Insides
  6. Spit on Electrics