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Snowy | Lillywhite (PVC Lotus)
'Pure' and 'authentic' are good words when applied to, say, people or emotions; but not , I venture, to music. With music it's the blending and the muddying that makes interesting listening, and Snowy are thus not as pure as their driven moniker. They are not a fresh fall unsullied by footprints or tyre marks, but neither are they the kind of utterly grubby slush you encounter on city streets come the evening. There are catchy songs, like one called Pills, that do the pop-rock thing like Luscious Jackson, but are made murky with trip-hop. Then the darker tones take over for the likes of Candlenight with its cello and distortion, and then we're in Mazzy Star territory with Surf Song, which is so not like the Beach Boys. Snowy are San Francisco singer/songwriter Bonni Evensen and Steven Roback from Rain Parade. Roback produces too, with the help of American Music Club's Tim Mooney. Evensen writes all the songs, some with Roback, and sings a little like Aimee Mann.

This is really a trip-hop record, with its lush soundtrack textures and snaky beats, but a good one, and we've not had one of those in a while. In the UK, trip-hop seems to be seen as last decade's thing - not a problem in America, it seems, as they don't seem to call it that there, and so if it has no name it can't go out of fashion, I suppose. American reviewers talk about Mazzy Star, jazzy beats and James Bond but use not the words 'trip' or 'hop'. Strange. The mixture of the dark and the poppy is what guarantees success in this genre, and Snowy pull it off with the ten strong songs that comprise 'Lillywhite'.

Jeff Cotton
March-April 2003