Capitol 1974 / Angel Air 2013
With funk smoothed to the country blues, greasy rolling becomes too comfortable and the energy tamed.
SNAFU’s debut made good on the foul part of the band’s titular acronym, its follow-up takes much of the sarcasm out of its first letters. As reasonable an attempt to turn their enterprise into a gravy train as it gets, singer Bobby Harrison and guitarist Micky Moody passed most of the writing duties to keyboard player Pete Solley on “Situation Normal” and stressed the country element that its predecessor hinted at. The resulting record borders on lackadaisical, despite engineering efforts of punk linchpins Martin Rushent and Bill Price, yet still enjoyable, “Brown Eyed Beauty & The Blue Assed Fly” stitching jig to a hoedown and the slide-caressed “No Bitter Taste” on par with the best of BURRITOS’ concoctions.
At the same time, toe-tapping and Moody’s guitars, otherwise unaccompanied, take “Lock And Key” to a bluesy heaven, while “No More”, lazily driven by Terry Popple’s bass and spiced up with Colin Gibson’s percussion, shakes its wares the Philadelphia International-way. Yet if “Jessie Lee” flows soulfully and boasts a meaty slab of organ rave, there’s little bite in either “Big Dog Lusty” or the 8-minute “Playboy Blues” with its synthesizer solo, where grit gets lost in vocal harmonies and dim melodies. The piano-panache “Ragtime Roll” boogie which Mel Collins’ sax adds to rights all the wrongs, but the feeling of force being spent is inescapable.