Local Review: The Snarlin’ Yarns – It Never Ends

Local Music Reviews

The Snarlin’ Yarns
It Never Ends

Dial Back Sound
Street: 01.23
The Snarlin’ Yarns = John Doe + The Knitters + X

The new album by The Snarlin’ Yarns is a gift. With fast and furious percussion,steady and slow acoustic guitars, a slicing fiddle and perfectly plucked banjo strings, the record is a treat to the senses. The Snarlin’ Yarns run the gamut of country western,old-timey folk and bluegrass. It’s impossible not to stomp your feet, but it’s the words they deliver that hit the hardest.

Imagine the banjo kid from the movie Deliverance with Mark Twain on drugs providing lyrics. The Snarlin’ Yarns are one part hillbilly elegy, mixed with some eternal sunshine, stuffed into a Pandora’s Box with a ribbon of existential dread tied into a pretty little bow—-A gift that keeps on giving.

On their second album, It Never Ends, The Snarlin’ Yarns throw everything against the wall and sing about everything that sticks and everything that falls to the ground, everything that gets swept away and everything that ends up in the cracks. Nothing escapes. Even someone’s mother: “Carry my ma in the helicopter / Take her far away / She’s got to see the doctor / Yeah, carry my ma away.” The Snarlin’ Yarns sing, “Don’t bury my ma in a plastic casket / Don’t bury my ma in a metal casket / Just plant a palm tree / And she will outlast it.” (Ketamean Ma).  The metal band Megadeth even gets dragged into the everything-in-the-fridge soup: “I’m the only one on earth that knows about your secret Dave Mustaine tattoo.” (Rhubarb Fields)

The songs are pure poetry. It’s almost as if they have a poet laureate in the band. Wait, they do! Abraham Smith, a one-time Ogden Laureate, provides the poetry and improv that makes this finely-tuned band spin like a top. To be fair, all members provide lyrics, and they all overlap with perfect precision. The rest of the band consists of Mara Brown (fiddle, vocals), Jason Barrett-Fox (Banjo, vocals), William Pollet (guitar, vocals), Tommy Dolph (guitar, vocals) and Ryan Ridge (bass). Altogether, it is a beautiful collective effervescence as compact and thick as Mississippi mud.

On the track “Pretty Pollyanna” The Snarlin’ Yarns declare, “Fixing up a fondue that will rock your socks off.” Truth be told, they make a mean fondue. There is so much to unpack on this record that it is impossible to get it all in. It’s best experienced. Don’t take my word for it—-spin the record and let The Snarlin’ Yarns entertain you. –Russ Holsten