snacks – the cinnamon show

no.5247 (CD, 2002)

In the landscape of modern music, where genres blend and identities often merge into a homogenous mix, Snacks’ album “The Cinnamon Show” emerges as a delightful anomaly. This 2002 release, steeped in the traditions of keyboard-based pop/soul R&B, taps into a rich vein of musical nostalgia while forging its own distinct path.

At the core of “The Cinnamon Show” is an evident homage to the ringing Rhodes piano, a hallmark of classic soul and R&B. Yet, Snacks doesn’t merely replicate the sounds of yesteryears; they punctuate this familiar base with tasteful guitar work that offers both punctuation and counterpoint, elevating the album beyond mere pastiche. The influence of Donald Fagan is palpable, not just in the intricate arrangements but also in the sophisticated storytelling that unfolds across the tracks.

However, Snacks is not content to rest on the laurels of their influences. The album veers into art rock territory, with echoes of Peter Gabriel’s pioneering spirit. Kevin Wiggins and John Richardson, the masterminds behind this project, craft a sonic journey that rewards listeners with new discoveries upon each listen. Unexpected elements, like a banjo leading a charge towards the album’s climax, serve as testament to the band’s willingness to explore and innovate.

“The Cinnamon Show” feels like a concept album, but it’s more akin to a radio play or telethon in its execution. There’s a theatricality to the music, a sense of narrative that binds the songs together into a cohesive whole. This is an album that doesn’t just aim to entertain; it seeks to engage, to provoke thought and evoke emotion.

The inclusion of Brett Kull, described as a reincarnated Norse Viking, on strings adds layers of complexity to the album. Kull’s versatility on instruments ranging from the mandolin to the electric guitar, combined with his vocal harmonies, enriches the sound palette of “The Cinnamon Show.” His background, spanning from AAA bands like Grey Eye Glances to philoso-rockers Echolyn, brings a depth of experience that shines through in the production.

Bassist Cutty, or John Richardson, stands as a pillar of the album’s sound. His bass lines are unconventional yet melodic, providing a soulful undercurrent that anchors the album’s more experimental flights. The dynamic between Cutty and Wiggins, born from years of collaboration and a shared vision, lends “The Cinnamon Show” a solidity that’s rare in albums daring to defy genre conventions.

In conclusion, “The Cinnamon Show” by Snacks is a rich, multifaceted work that defies easy categorization. It’s an album that pays homage to its roots while boldly charting its own course. For those seeking a musical experience that combines the familiar with the unexpected, “The Cinnamon Show” is a journey worth taking.

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