What a wonderful, Technicolor nightmare this is, feverishly painted by Bristol quartet Schnauser, named either after the ‘tache or the German terrier, and displaying the same friskiness and unpredictability as both.
The band’s second release arrived with a handwritten note from founder Alan Strawbridge suggesting they’d be ‘up our readers’ alley’. Thirty seconds into opener Showers Of Blood we’re nodding emphatically, as fruity Yes-like organ melts into a sweetly crooned chorus depicting some sort of massacre at an am-dram night.
What follows is a barking cascade of reepy neo-psych, which references Sgt Pepper, the Kinks, XTC and gone-wrong Beach Boys. Canterbury playfulness tempers Large Groups Of Men, which fizzes with the terror of subliminal peer pressure; if you’ve ever read a book by Magnus Mills, this is the soundtrack.
Society’s meaty little neuroses fuel Schnauser’s jaunty adventures, yielding earworms of urbane decay such as Westwood Ho!, Good Looking Boy and Vaguely Disturbed, its charming lullaby swing inducing both goosebumps and paranoia.
Nothing is missed under their cracked magnifier, and it’s all brilliantly, hummably horrific.