Scandinavia is a land full of nature, culture and beautiful womenz. Everything has a weird name and the favourite pasttime of any Scandinavian person is burning churches. That is a fact. They're all wicked. Wicked cool, that is.

Stöj Snak - Songs About Beliefs (TNS Records/5FeetUnder Records, 2012)

1. Collateral Damage
2. State Of Mine
3. Party On The Hillside
4. Great Ideas Need Landing Gear
5. No Refunds

Now, the band I wanna talk about is Stöj Snak, from Denmark. Weird name, right? Google translate says it means "noise is present talk", which kinda makes sense but I can't really put my finger on it. The band is the brainchild of songwriter and super-multi-instrumentalist Niels Höjgaard Sörensen (yeah, weird names...), who is credited for vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, bass guitar, organ, harmonica, toy xylophone, melodica, rhythm apple, hand claps, tambourine, cabasa, programming, song writing, recording, producing, mixing and artwork. That's intense. Damn. He does handclaps too! And what the heck is a rhythm apple even? Anyway, let's not ponder about weird names, credit lists and that jazz. Let's listen to the music.

First track: Collateral Damage. It has a very country-like feel but then the vocals kick in and you immediately get a different vibe. An interesting vibe. They describe themselves as acoustic punk or screamer-songwriter music, which are both pretty accurate descriptions. They managed to create a very full-sounding EP with an array of basic and unplugged instruments. The vocals sound slightly desperate and  have a very dry tone. There's a Ceremony reference in the first song I think, where Niels screams "This is my war!" at the top of his lungs. Could be just another line, which doesn't reference anything, but it made me think of that. Anyway, the bass line is super fun in this song, composition-wise it's well constructed. I have the feeling that solo artists generally can come up with great song structures and compositions cause they can just do what they want, don't need to account for other opinions and they don't need to explain stuff to other band members.
State Of Mine, the next track, is lyrically my favourite on the EP. "Into a place where people really care/Where folk singers and grindcore bands can stand a common ground fuelled by the same raw creative drive/Something more than power chords and beats in double time/Uncompromised self-expression/Just a place where people really care" That's great. Especially the line about folk singers and grindcore bands is cool, cause you realize Niels has interest in both folk music, grindcore, punk, whatever genre and he draws influence from all those genres, not necessarily explicit musical influence but you hear he has a lot of ideas that come from different places in his mind, that's cool. Also, his brother is in Kollapse, the crust band I reviewed a while ago. Party On The Hillside, for example, has an entirely different sound than the previous songs and has a more old school punk rock feel to it. It's a song about escapism and nostalgia to careless times I guess? I'd like to be careful expressing my opinion about song meanings cause mostly I don't nearly understand it as well as it was intended. Anyway, another great song, the shortest on the album and the subtle ongoing guitar solo is a really cool thing to do.
Niels takes a gear back with Great Ideas Need Landing Gear (see what I did there?), and takes a simpler, more upbeat approach. Yet, the vocal qualities remain the same. I really like his voice, he's really on the edge between singing and screaming in this one, and I love when the raspiness comes through as much as I love the clean-sounding yells, as in "It's gonna be betteeeer for everyooooooone". Great track!
No Refunds goes on about the lyrical theme of State Of Mine a bit and has a motherfucking flute solo. I can't remember if I've ever heard a flute solo. It's pretty damn awesome! The song flows really well throughout and is a nice closing track to this second EP, Songs About Beliefs.

So, while you're at it, check out the first EP, Planned Absolescence, cause it's pretty cool too!
Songs About Beliefs came out in November and is available on orange vinyl, pressing of 250, and it looks really nice.
The download includes a bonus track, The City Burns Tonight, which is the most straight-forward track of all. It sounds angry, it sounds enervated, it sound wack and it sounds really soothing at the same time because of the tempo and the smooth outro.

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