Best Vancouver albums of 2015

snitSNIT – Optimized
Napkin Records
Listen: “Aokigahara”

SNIT’s Optimized is a radical jolt in the dark wave/post-punk scene. Whether shouting fiercely or tossing off lines, Jessi Zapton’s voice scrapes and scratches as abrasively as Trevor McEachran’s stringy, pinching guitars (his riffs on “Phantom Expressions” are so rusty, they sound like they need industrial disinfectant). On “Curmudgeons”, white hot solos shoot out like sparks while Zapton yells at her most frantic. All the while, Robert Tunold and Kati Jensen power the momentum with pummeling bass and a battery of drums (respectively).

SNIT scream their independence almost until the bitter end. “I never asked for your help. Suicide, I’ll do it by myself,” Zapton sings on “Aokigahara”. The song’s title refers to the forest of the same name located at the base of Mount Fuji. The forest is so dense, it’s insulated from outside sounds. But more notably, Aokigahara is the site of up to a hundred suicides a year. It is, as Zapton sings, “the crème de la crème of offing yourself.”

Even when SNIT don’t express total independence, they shout their assertiveness: “Don’t just tell me. I want to know. Don’t just tell me. Show me how,” Zapton commands on “Compulsion”. But SNIT play with such confidence, it’s hard to believe they need anyone to show them anything.

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu