Party is over, pornostar (Snapline)

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Cover

Contents

General Information

Artist: Snapline
Title: party is over, pornostar
Release Date: 2007, September 8
Label: Maybe Mars Records
Type: CDDA
Catalog No.: Maybe 3.1
Language:


Track Listing

  1. close your cold eyes
  2. holy comments
  3. catch you low
  4. porno star
  5. jenny
  6. let in
  7. single beat
  8. s#1
  9. s#2
  10. spinning
  11. yellow cab (Bonus)


Reviews

  • (c) that's Beijing Blog, Berwin Song, October 13, 2007

By now, the names Carsick Cars and Snapline will be familiar to anybody who’s had even the most fleeting look at the Beijing music scene – and even if you haven’t had a chance to see them live, you’ve probably heard of them. You might recall that Carsick Cars was supposed to open for Sonic Youth when they came to Beijing; maybe you heard that Snapline was signed to Invisible Records in Chicago. Yet for all their buzz-worthiness, a band’s true legacy is made by what they leave behind – and finally, they’ve each got an album to their name.

The scene being what it is, we’ve been able to witness each band grow – it’s notable, of course, that these two bands share two members: Li Weisi handles bass duties for both, while Li Qing switches between drums for Carsick Cars and guitar/keyboard for Snapline. Yet the two bands couldn’t sound any more different. Carsick Cars’ songs, driven by the sonic squeals and feedback from Jeffray Zhang’s guitar, are still primarily based on bright, open tunings, retaining a springy poppiness. Meanwhile, it’s Li Qing’s melodic sensibilities that set the tone for Snapline’s grungy, industrial sound – under the production and remastering skills of Martin Atkins, the group has never sounded darker; Chen Xi’s semi-logical vocals (in English), have never sounded more ominous. A bonus from the Atkins sessions gets tagged onto the end of Pornostar; it’s entitled Yellow Cab, and features the “Martin Atkins China Dub Sound System” (made up of Snapline members, Zhang, and the SubsKang Mao). As a studio document of how far these bands have come, these albums are essential listening for anyone interested in Beijing music.

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  • (c) City Weekend, November 7, 2007

Out of all the domestic releases to hit the streets this month, “Party Is Over, Pornostar” from the Beijing post-punk three piece Snapline is hands down one of the best. Distributed by the newly-established Beijing indie label Maybe Mars (headed by D-22 mastermind Michael Pettis and local post-punk hero Yang Haisong of PK14), the record has been making waves in the local indie rock community.

The band, formed nearly two years ago out of the dredges of a side project (two of the members also play in Carsick Cars), has been garnering praise since its inception and is one of the fastest rising talents in China. In the ever-so-incestuous climate of today’s Beijing rock scene where it’s easy to wear your influences on your sleeve and copy what everyone else is doing, Snapline has managed to take the unbeaten path to a sound all its own.

Recorded over two days in October 2006 at Hi-End Studios in Beijing and produced by Martin Atkins of Ministry, Pigface and Invisible Records fame, the album clocks in at just over 40 minutes. It’s a refreshing melange of punk rock naivety and features a surprising number of dance-y rock 'n' roll tracks girded by a distinctively post-industrial pop undertone. The album manages to sound at once both familiar and modern. Its frenzied, yet somehow organized calm captures the essence of the band’s live performances. In an interview with City Weekend, bespectacled lead singer Chen Xi gushes about the differences between studio work and the live show. "Martin is a great producer," Chen ethuses. "The songs on the album have richer elements and it has a more accurate balance. Still, in our live shows we have more passion and noise and there are more random things that happen."

Chen, who usually wears red, horn-rimmed glasses and equally stylish digs, has a vocal style reminiscent of LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, or Damo Suzuki of Can. He’s a soft-spoken yet charismatic front man whose confidence and stage presence grows with each passing month. Chen recalls being extremely nervous during his time in the studio, drinking bottles of water and praying that he didn’t stress out his vocal chords. “It was my first time in the studio and I didn’t know that we’d have to take our shoes off,” he says. “I felt really lucky that I was wearing socks without any holes in them! Our guitarist and bass player had to trample their pedals with slippers!”

The band expects to take their show on the road in November, hitting Shanghai, Chengdu and Nanjing. There are also rumors of an American tour supporting Martin Atkin's own project, the superstar industrial rock group Pigface.

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  • (c) 8 Inches Productions, Ian Sherman

Groan! More postpunk. Enough is enough, surely! While it has the potential to be a punchy, exciting genre of rock, in the hands of too many Chinese bands postpunk has been rendered soulless and empty. It is the amyl nitrate of music – instantly gratifying, ultimately ephemeral. However in the hands of local three-piece Snapline, postpunk is revivified – up to a point. There’s not much on Party Is Over, Pornstar that hasn’t been done just as well a million times before – swirly, phased basslines that Peter Hook will probably want back eventually, prosaic, heavily punctuated guitars, metronomic drums (machine-made on this disc) and a general air of dissolute doom. However, two things elevate this album above the throng; vocalist Cheng Xi actually has something to say and says it in an urgent yet indolent voice that fits the postpunk idiom perfectly, while producer Martin Atkins, storied sideman/producer/svengali and would-be Beijing scene carpetbagger, has done a marvelous job here – avoiding the muddy over-reverberation that is frequently slathered over modern postpunk in lieu of any actual sonic ideas. Tight drum production, such as on the Joy Division/Gang Of Four hybrid ‘Let In’, lends the music a presence frequently absent from locally produced albums.

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Further information

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