I really don’t like writing damning album reviews, especially for albums by up-and-coming bands trying to make their way in the ever-more-saturated world of heavy rock and metal. But really it’s hard to see the point of this release; Whilst I’m sure Blackmail Snaps offer the prospect of a rip-roaring night of fun and frivolity down at your local rock pub on a Wednesday night, with the demo-quality at best sonics as heard on this release in an age where with a bit of know-how and the right software you can record the next Hysteria in your garage, Blackmail Snaps just don’t sound ready to be exposing themselves to a wider audience with …Smash a Window.
Musically, their NWoBHM-tinged pub rock is largely unappealing, with only occasional hints of accomplishment on the likes of Soul Connection pointing to anything like a sophisticated songwriting sensibility. Singer/guitarist Rich Davenport’s voice is far too high up in the mix, exposing his vocal frailties at the expense of his sometimes pleasing guitar playing – one highlight, if any are to be found, is the man’s concise soloing style – whilst the rhythm section of David Nuttall and Marc Hood offer nothing beyond an adequate plod and some scratchy vocals to back him up.
Disconnected offers flashes of inspiration, bringing to mind early eighties also-rans Chariot in its chugging rhythm guitars, tuneful soloing and melodic chorus, but I’m really struggling to find many positives here beyond the couple of songs I’ve mentioned.
Amusingly, in the promo blurb that backs this release, eighties figures like Micky Geggus (Cockney Rejects) and Pete Way (UFO) are wheeled out to heap praise on the band. And certainly, In 1983, when those two blokes were still relevant players in the British rock scene, When One Door Closes… might have been welcomed with open arms and held to hold real promise; sadly for Blackmail Snaps we live in 2016 now and half-baked offerings such as this, whilst undoubtedly executed with sincerity, honesty and bags of commitment to the cause, just don’t cut the mustard anymore.