by Matt Voracek (@anotherdyingart)
Listening to Sneaks’ 2015 mini-LP Gymnastics one can quickly pick up on Eva Moolchan’s caged restlessness. First launched on Katie Alice Greer’s DC-label Sister Polygon, the inspired minimalism on her debut is both entrancing and confining, her voice revealing a bite lying under its cool reservation. By the end of the record, her predetermined artistic restraints of words, bass work, and automated beats are no longer enough as accenting chimes and keyboard squelch spill over into the mix. That austere yet unsettled energy was enough to attract Merge Records for a re-release of the album last year, gifting Sneaks a wider audience for her future efforts. It’s a Myth is an extension of her rudimentary style, but presents a broader tableau for Moolchan to freely explore her subtleties.
“I get away with the formula” is an apt mission statement for It’s a Myth, given both as a firm declaration and coquettish confession on opener “Inside Edition.” Moolchan’s vocals here and throughout are loose and lithe, aware that her methodical gambit that is now paying a substantial dividend. The move to a major indie label also brought bona fide production value, snaring Mary Timony (Ex Hex, Helium, Wild Flag) and Jonah Takagi (also Ex Hex) for studio work and guidance. Their steady influence is imprinted on all ten sparsely delivered tracks, as Moolchan boldly nudges nearer to the boundaries of Sneaks, both sonically and conceptually.
Her breathy vocals on “Hair Slick Back” do not lack for confidence as she accelerates the tempo off of her nimble bass line. Lyrics like ”You think I can’t contain my rage?” would reveal an angry manner out of lesser musicians. Instead Moolchan opts for the reticent poise of a queen through her soft-spoken, yet empowered delivery. On more whimsical tracks such as “With a Cherry on Top” and “Devo,” her resolute posture never wavers, even as the phrasing takes the form of playground chants. While touching on apple bottoms, plastic dinosaurs, and hot dog buns (among other things), Moolchan explores her new opportunities with an approachable and efficacious directive.
Moolchan’s position as regent over her growing musical realm is still in the early stages on It’s a Myth, as she finds the latitude to shade outside the lines when the mood strikes. “Act Out” utilizes live percussion for the first time in the short history of Sneaks, reminding us of her punk roots while adding a new weapon to her arsenal. “Look Like That” is the breakout moment of the album. Her willingness to take the reins off, allowing the length to climb to over three minutes leaves the indelible mark of importance. She gets lost in trance-like chants like “They murmur into spark/ they’re chewing on your bark” as the racy pulse sparks the sensual demure. Each subtle hint of experimentation on It’s a Myth reads as a grand possibility, as what started as an exploratory framework two years ago for Eva Moochan is now cemented as a rubric for her nuanced simplicity.