Anna Bickerton via The Boar

The Snuts exhibit all the ingredients for great indie pop in Birmingham

HMV Vault, Birmingham, 18th February 2024

“We’re just so in love that it’s ordinary,” sings frontman Jack Cochrane in his trademark sunglasses and hat as he opens the stage on a Sunday afternoon in Birmingham’s HMV Vault, accompanied by the jangly guitar of the single ‘Gloria’.


The Snuts are a Scottish indie rock band, who are gearing up for the release of their third album, Millennials, with a run of record store dates. An array of saltire flags and parents taking advantage of the 2 pm set to initiate their young children into live music pepper the crowd. A demographic which establishes the premise for the band’s amusing attempts to resist the Scottish propensity to swear in every sentence throughout the set.

This tour represents more than just another album

Since their last record, Burn The Empire, the Scottish rockers have exited their record deal with Parlophone, owned by Warner Music Group, and been vocal on the limitations to the creative freedom that goes with signing for major labels. Consequently, this tour represents more than just another album for the group, but independence and a reclamation of identity.


Millennials’ singles have already identified the album as undoubtedly the most optimistic and most pop-sounding of The Snuts’ work, with the rest of the album following suit. At its core, the record is a buoyant collection of reflections on finding joy in everyday life when the world is falling apart, sprinkled with nostalgia and romantic songwriting.


“If love was money, we’d be millionaires” reverberates throughout the venue as the Whitburn band moves on to the second track, the anthemic ‘Millionaires’. Well-received by the audience, the song increases the energy in what was initially a quieter room. Cochrane swiftly introduces bassist Callum Wilson and drummer Jordan Mackay.  Guitarist, Joe McGillveray, has been replaced by Scott Anderson, producer of The Snuts’ third record due to illness. His guitar skills soon subject to friendly teasing, a sign of the endearing authenticity of the band.


Energised by the clear support for the album, it’s a story the newly independent band is eager to tell throughout the set. The band introduce the dreamy – then unreleased – ‘Butterside Down’ with tales of eating toast in the morning in the Scottish Highlands throughout the making of Millennials, a far cry from the glamour and drama of most rock bands. Coupled with light-hearted complaints of “carrying [their] own guitars,” Cochrane and Wilson reflect on the challenges and sheer effort involved in the tour with rejuvenating honesty, admitting this Birmingham show is one of three today.


“I thought we were supposed to be free,” Cochrane proclaims jokingly. The band’s frontman succeeds in keeping the crowd onside. The end to his (admittedly impressive) stretch of avoiding any foul language is met with a cheery mock groan from the audience. Cochrane’s unaffected, affable character throughout proves the archetype of the enigmatic – often conceited – indie frontman to be redundant for at least an afternoon.


The group soon returns to their indie rock roots with an acoustic take on ‘Always’, a crowd-favourite from debut W.L.  and the similarly bouncy ‘Yoyo’ follows. Although upbeat in sound, its poignant lyrics and Cochrane’s gravelly vocals offer relatability and cement its place as a personal favourite of the newest release; “How many milligrams in my hand, to be happy?” reads the bridge. The stripped-back nature of the gig is no obstacle for the groove of the track’s wavy guitar. A raucous ‘Yoyo’ is a track that would feel most at home at a music festival, but nevertheless, aided by Mackay’s punchy drums, it engages the audience relatively well.

Armed with a refreshing new sound, it is difficult to see how one could actively dislike them

Forty minutes in and the short but sweet set concludes with the unreleased ‘Circles’, a song that perhaps falls flat to an unfamiliar audience. Although unsuited to the occasion, the finale has a sound that one day will perfectly soundtrack the euphoria of nights of live music coming to an end.


Birmingham’s HMV Vault may not have the sticky floors, searing guitar and mosh pits that usually characterise The Snuts’ gigs, but the quartet don’t fail to put on an enjoyable afternoon of indie pop. Armed with a refreshing new sound, it is difficult to see how one could actively dislike them. Their genuine, uncomplicated approach towards music is not a shortfall but is the making of the band’s charm. Ultimately, The Snuts’ shunning of complex lyricism and pretentiousness leaves them well-placed to deliver an energetic and likeable performance to anyone that could briefly suspend any ‘Landfill Indie’ snobbishness.



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