For her second album as Sneaks, Eva Moolchan has made the huge leap from low-key favourite label Sister Polygon to beloved indie behemoth Merge. Merge have expanded their roster to include music of all kinds in the last decade, but even still banking on the unfussed post-punk of the young DC artist is quite a daring move. However, when you hear It’s A Myth, you completely understand why they would want to take an artist like Moolchan into their fold. Sneaks is the work of a young solo artist fully expressing herself, in a simplistic but deceptively tactful and cutting way. She seems determined not to be pigeonholed, as the album’s title and cover may attest – it’s more stylish than anything else likely to be found in the post-punk scene.
Although Sneaks’ music is entirely made of Moolchan’s voice, bass guitar and a drum machine, It’s A Myth is much more than simply being another early Beat Happening sound-alike. In fact, the opening of the first track ‘Inside Edition’ finds Moolchan combining her slick drum machine programming with a bass guitar melody that has been filtered in such a way that the result is actually something akin to an Aphex Twin demo. This creative moulding of the two basic elements continues through the first trio of songs. Combined with Moolchan’s impactful but unstrained vocals, the result is something like a very stripped back, slightly angsty pop sound. The mid-section of the album has a more straightforward lo-fi rock sound, with skittering drum machines and permanent-marker-thick splotches of bass guitar forming the foundation. Throughout the album the combinations of these minimal elements is always slick and stylish, slipping easily into your psyche – but not easily back out again.
Moolchan’s lyrics are very minimal and impressionistic, which matches the tracks she’s created. In fact, she delivers them in such a deadpan way, that sometimes they can become intimidating or unsettling. On ‘Inside Edition’ she seems to have some key piece of information with which she’s taunting the listener; ‘Not My Combination’ is reminiscent of the famous “not quite my tempo” threat of Whiplash; while on ‘Hair Slick Back’ she repeats the phrase “hair slick back like I can’t relax,” over a slightly snaking bass rhythm, evoking someone shifty-eyed, completely on edge, unable to sit or stand still for a second. Even when her lyrics seem more incidental, they’re still irresistibly catchy and hint at something darker going on. Propulsive centerpiece ‘Devo’ seems to be an ode to the band (“divine, divine Devo” goes the earworm chorus), but finishes randomly with the suggestive couplet “plastic dinosaurs and hot dog buns/ strawberries strategically placed”; just a hint that there’s more going on in Moolchan’s mind than is on the surface. ‘PBNJ’ is a shimmying, almost dancy number, where the lyrics hark back to high school days: “PB ‘n’ J and a knock on my door/ tomorrow maybe, today for sure.” In all of the songs, the lyrical content is almost secondary to the way it’s delivered and hooks into the uniquely stylized post-punk that Sneaks has moulded.
It’s A Myth finds Moolchan further perfecting the simplistic concoction of bass, beats, lyrics and passive voice, which results in something delightfully easy to take in – especially as this 10 track album doesn’t even reach 20 minutes. It displays an artist full of confidence in her work, and comfortable doing her own thing. Most importantly, It’s A Myth an easily enjoyable release that doesn’t waste any of its brief and surprising burst.