I was on the train. I was staring glassy-eyed out over the blur of green that is the leafy North Shore.
That’s when I first heard Snakadaktal on Triple J.
The song was “Fall Underneath”- a catchy synth-pop delirium that made me sit up in my seat and really listen.
After that, I tracked down the band on Triple J Unearthed which led me to their older stuff, like “Air”and “Chimera”. I was hooked, so I bought their latest album- Sleep Underwater.
Snakadaktal has an extraordinary talent for manipulating tone or mood through tempo. This is really obvious in “Chimera” for example. It’s hypnotic and I love it. Their synthetic soundscape is lethargic and the female lead, Phoebe Cockburn’s voice is melodious, like a lullabye.
Their guitar-work is not exhaustive or overstrained but underlying and crucial. There’s enough to show talent and supplement the tune. The beat can shift from dance-pop in “Feel The Ocean Hold Me Under” to a slow, eerie nostalgia in “The Sun II”. Right after that, a tune like “Ghost” emerges with a simple supporting tone and a female voice hauntingly rhythmic and high. “Ghost” can only be described as the colour metallic navy blue, I don’t know how else to explain it. Wikipedia categorises their genre as indie-pop/dream pop and I’d have to agree with the latter.
“Fall Underneath” remains a song with the Snakadaktal signature, with electro-pop sounds that are experimental, but I promise they work. They bring up the beat and get the whole upper torso bopping along. Not something for a dance rave, rather, this tune is a mood-lifter, something I’d listen to turned up loud as I walked through the early sunlit streets of somewhere like The Rocks; empty, fresh and I with a spring in my step.
A mood-lifter, that’s what you really want in an opening to an album. After the first track, the up-beat groove remains in songs like “Isolate”, then after that, their tunes become more stereophonic, a sort of haunting beauty that reminds one of a darkened coastline- the muddy grey of the ocean on an overcast day. It echoes, it’s authentic and it’s so well-polished, showing a clear development from the band’s debut songs on their Triple J Unearthed profile.