St. Petersburg, Florida punk rockers Snacking made their triumphant return to the scene with their four song EP Painted Gold which dropped earlier this week. The band had been working on this record in between tours, line up changes, and the myriad of other circumstances of their lives since their debut Not Here dropped in the summer of 2018. While Not Here was a smash of a record and made them hometown heroes in their local DIY scene Painted Gold without a doubt serves as a major step forward for the young band, who partnered with the good folks at Chillwave Records for a run of cassettes which as you may have been able to guess are painted a beautiful shiny gold.
The record’s cover immediately drew me in as it is deceptively complex. There is a hand in the middle doing the titular act of painting the cover gold, quickly covering up what appears to be a mother snake around a nest of her eggs. Is this a metaphor for doing what you can to cover up and get rid of the “snakes” in your life before they hatch and become even bigger problems? Hopefully a better writer will get to the bottom of it. The tape starts off fast and furious with its lead single “Blacked Out on a Train”. The track was apparently inspired by the northeast tour the band took took back in 2019 when you could still do things like that. Being far away from home and out of their comfort zone was a little freaky for the young band, clearly leading to a little too much alcohol consumption on public transportation at one point, but the group learned to let the worries go, have some fun, and enjoy their time together. The song is as fast and furious as a Japanese bullet train, though lead singer Ryan Dormois keeps the cool and calm demeanor of a seasoned conductor, making sure regardless of how much we may imbibe that we make it to our destination safely. It’s a ripper of a track that takes a pinch of emo anxiety and a dash of southern twang for a unique and unforgettable amalgamation.
The tape’s second track “Crosswords” is a slower and more melancholy track that feels like waking up the following morning after blacking out on the train as you grab your cuppa coffee and open the local paper to its crossword page, trying you make sense of where you now find yourself and the raucous night that got you there. The song is in reality about an all too familiar feeling, wanting to be there for a friend who you know is going through a hard time but not having the faintest clue as to what the right words to say are. The crossword puzzle ends up being a perfect metaphor for the situation too, as putting the wrong word in a crossword can derail the whole puzzle in just the same way that saying the wrong words can derail a fragile friendship.
The EP’s closing track, which shares the EP’s name “Painted Gold”, is the slowest, quietest, and most tender of the four. It’s about trying to live up to the expectations of family members whose ideas of what qualifies as success don’t line up with your own. It’s a difficult and hauntingly beautiful song. There is a depressing maturity to “painting your relationships gold” and covering up the cracks that have formed over the years for the benefit of all parties involved. It left me meditating on my relationships with the ones I love who I haven’t seen eye to eye with and what I could be doing to strengthen them.
Snacking came back extremely strong with Painted Gold, their emo roots combined with their slight southern twang truly sets them apart from the pack. This EP is sure to be both a fantastic introduction for new fans finding out about Snacking on the internet and longtime fans who followed the band from Florida basement to Florida basement. Here’s to hoping this tape is an appetizer for more music on the horizon, though if you need to find us in the meantime we’ll be in the last train car with a tasty beverage in a paper bag.