REVIEW: Burn The Empire by The Snuts

As key figures of society shoulder together whilst the country is in decline, Scottish band The Snuts smoulder with an album reflective of this time.

Left to right: Jack Cochrane (vocals, guitar), Callum Wilson (bass), Jordan Mackay (drums) and Joe McGillveray (guitar). Credit: Edward Cooke

The Snuts are back to simultaneously burn the empire and build their empire.

Since 2015, the Whitburn lads have gained a loyal fanbase with their punchy indie-rock anthems and lively mosh pits. In 2021, they became the first Scottish band in fourteen years to launch a debut album straight to number one.

Their second record, ‘Burn The Empire’, masterful and multifaceted, calls attention to social issues, with frontman Jack Cochrane’s dynamic vocals holding those in power accountable.

The title track, a politically charged protest piece, ignites the fire immediately. It starts with an eerie, electric guitar melody under former Labour politician Tony Benn’s “an educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern” speech. Then the surging riffs send the song up in flames.

Cochrane’s lyrics support Benn’s statement, as he repeatedly declares: “I won’t take a back seat, no fucking way man”. As the lead singer continues: “The world’s controlled by people, controlling people. So come on people. Burn the empire. Bring her to her knees”, the exhilarating harmonies radiate an expressive chill strong enough to give you goosebumps and get you riled up, ready for their next attack.

This time, Facebook’s co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, falls victim to their grilling. ‘Zuckerpunch’ discusses the downfalls of social media, from overwhelming anxiety to privacy threats. The clever lyrics exploring current issues are juxtaposed with retro musical features. “Walk with me down memory lane when the phone in your pocket only had a few games” is placed over a broken beat, sample-heavy soundscape, reminiscent of pre-social media music from the 90s.

The album’s sound takes a turn when the ghostly ballerina box chimes of ‘13’ start to play. But the strums of the acoustic guitar and the steady drumbeats bring it back, preparing us for the outro that climbs skywards, reverb and rage growing alongside.

The Snuts prove they are going to be one of the biggest bands of the future with ‘Knuckles’. Two minutes and 40 seconds of addictive indie perfection. The teasing lyrics (“I kind of like when you fight your way out. Show me your knuckles baby”) exude a coolness that is dangerously sharp. We also hear this on ‘Hallelujah Moment’: an electrifying toe tapper with an early Arctic Monkeys jangle.

As the album continues to spark important conversations, the band steer through different elements and emotions, never staying pigeonholed by indie-rock norms. ‘Cosmic Electronica’ is an electro-rock fusion. A masterpiece of epic proportions. The electronic buzz emits an instant shot of energy before the song blasts off with lyrics possessing an out of this world attitude (“I’m gonna take you down son, I’m an alien. Got a peashooter loaded with titanium”). Whereas ‘Yesterday’ allows Cochrane to show a different side to his voice. The sincere ballad embraces soothing high-pitched vocals and swaying acoustic guitar melodies that would fit perfect on a Turin Brakes LP.

The album also emphasises the importance of optimism and togetherness. ‘End Of The Road’, a Kings Of Leon-esque love song, provides hope with the lyrics: “It’s not the end of the road, we’re almost home. If we figure things out, we can get back to the stars”. Rachel Chinouriri adds a softness to the track with her mellow vocals. ‘The Rodeo’ is a classic Snuts song, powered by chants and rhythms their crowds can jump along to, and ‘Pigeons In New York’ encourages us to celebrate what we have in common with others.

‘Burn The Empire’ starts with a bold message, and it finishes with one too. ‘Blah Blah Blah’ takes a hit at corrupt politicians. Like a planned attack, it begins carefully with anchored assertive verses. Tension builds in the stirring pre-choruses before all-out war commences in the mighty choruses. The final kick in the teeth comes as Cochrane roars: “Now call me your master, I said I’m your master”. With this aura of invincibility being so present, it’s impossible not to feel impassioned. Joining The Snuts’ empire has never seemed more tempting.



Trainee journalist at the University of Salford. Presenter of Alternative Airwaves. Founder of Alternative Atmosphere. Words: Inspo Daily and Mancunian Matters.

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Caitlin Hyem

Trainee journalist at the University of Salford. Presenter of Alternative Airwaves. Founder of Alternative Atmosphere. Words: Inspo Daily and Mancunian Matters.