From The Rocking Chair To The Stage

By Benjamin Lehmann

In recent years there has been a shift in lyric writing away from the introspective, hypnotized verses of the early noughties. Hedonism in music is at an all-time high, so much so that Madchester may be about to rear its ugly head again. Hedonistic tendencies in culture often go hand in hand with a sense of social unrest, as witnessed most spectacularly in the work of Christopher Isherwood, on whose work the musical Cabaret was based. Few musicians have succeeded in touching the delicate nerve strings of post-millenium tension with any subtlety, which is why this new album from Snax is so curiously apt.

As one half of Berlin trio Captain Comatose, Snax has been combining the familiar bumps and bleeps of electro house with dirty, camped-up, vocal performances for the last few years. Tunes like 100$ have already become dancefloor classics. On From The Rocking Chair To The Stage Snax goes solo to adopt a similar music hall pose to that of Liza Minelli in the 1972 film. Like Minelli's character, Sally Bowles, Snax is an American lost in the sawdust reality of Berlin. The album is full of the lonely city tales of the music hall chanteuse, told from a male homosexual point of view. Beautiful celebrates the promiscuous life of the city at night; 'Sometimes I pay for it, sometimes it comes my way for free, but every time I do it, it's brand spanking new to me.' The jacking synth lines and go-go beats on Beautiful owe a lot to Prince, but executed with the trashy edge of modern technology they sound all the more appealing. Snax also makes a passing glance at the current obsession with early house sounds on My Rug, but as a whole the album avoids genre stereotyping: the homo-punk duet Oo She She Wa Wa pays tribute to Snax's earlier art rock project Fagbash; Nodancing, the first single, is an infectious glam rock ballad, exploring the melodrama and confusion of the city's seedy 'no dancing' bars, with the sound of the city forming an ideal backdrop to the track. But Snax is at his best lyrically on tunes like Another Fantasy Shot To Hell where an ironic take on the personal life in true music hall style – 'Who am i gonna look at the moon with' – is combined with flashes of the artist out of character, suggestive hints at breakdown and madness. This is most pronounced on the final track, with its perfect coinage of the musician's experience, 'I wanted to get my feet wet, now I'm thousands in debt.'

From The Rocking Chair... is an extravagant confessional, shot through with the brilliant and jaded glamour of modern life. Personal, soulful, it has all the best qualities of a debut solo album. Also out now are the No Dancing remixes, featuring Kahn, the other half of Captain Comatose, and Paul Mac's stereomongous rework.
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