‘Tweet Tweet My Lovely’ was released in May 1998, at the time when North London’s Snuff were the most prolific band in UK punk rock. After a turbulent 10 years – which included a brief hiatus in 1991 – Snuff remerged in 1994, hoping to re-establish the band on the underground circuit. Fronted by singing drummer, Duncan Redmonds, the new line-up featured a swirling Hammond organ and trombone, courtesy of Duncan’s brother Dave. The results were unique yet comfortably familiar. The additions of new instruments breathed new life into the thrash-hardcore outfit, introducing elements of mod and soul to their already hard-hitting sound.
Word of the new and improved Snuff reached San Francisco and NOFX’s Fat Mike signed the band to his label, Fat Wreck Chords. The Southern Californian punk scene may have been a far cry from the London suburb of Hendon, but vitally, introduced Snuff to a younger audience.
For punks young and old, Tweet Tweet My Lovely does not disappoint. Album opener No Reason is two minutes of blistering beats and breakneck guitars. The trademark double-time drums were still in full force, just as they were in earlier releases, yet their musicianship was tighter than ever before. Redmonds’ singing style shifts from nasal yelling in the short thrash number Timebomb to long drawn out notes during the infectious organ lead of Iyehf Taidu Leikh. The horns on Nick Motown sidestep any ska clichés and skilfully combines Northern Soul with raging guitars.
Arsehole, with its chorus of ‘We’re all arseholes. We’re a bunch of wankers’ may hint at the juvenile humour of bands like Blink 182, but here it stands as an anthem for the self-deprecating. Similarly Take Me Home (Piss Off) is an honest account of the moment a drunken night out comes to a bitter end: “Scrape me off the walls, chuck me in a bag, drag me past the bouncers, shove me into a cab and take me home”.
The honesty on display throughout Tweet Tweet My Lovely demonstrates a real connection with an audience, a trait that the new wave of American punk rock started to lack in the late ’90s. Tracks like All You Need and Thief reveal a more thoughtful approach to Snuff’s songwriting, revealing tales of a disenfranchised Britain. There aren’t many music scenes as tempestuous as UK punk rock. Bands are championed one moment and dropped the second they sell out a club. But in the case of Tweet Tweet My Lovely, there is no pretence, no rock star ego or desperation to win over a crowd. Snuff never lost their credibility and this remains a classic almost two decades later.