Shut Your Mouth Round Me
If the point of PoopDeFlex's brand of hill-blues is being painfully lonely, then his debut album's overall feel and production only add to those blues.
Scott "PoopDeFlex" Snyder makes no qualms about being a one-man band on his debut, Shut Your Mouth Round Me. The album is a singular, intimate recording but still manages to be just as crass, hilariously vulgar and full of that trademark PoopDeFlex charm. The disc mixes studio-recorded and live material for an hour and 12 minutes of gritty, yet groove-oriented Mississippi blues similar in style to Snyder's main influences, Fred McDowell and R.L. Burnside.
The spiritual crisis of "God Love Devil Boogie" opens the album and sets the tone for the duration. The speedy, nimble-fingered riffing and bass-snare-bass-snare drumbeat are the heart of nearly every PoopDeFlex tune. Snyder is best when he slows it down and lays back into a mid-tempo groove like on "Bring The Rain" and album standout "Wanna Go Home" (featuring Snyder on harmonica), in which he sings, "The night we met / you said I stole your heart / but I was never gonna be there from the start."
One of PoopDeFlex's most endearing qualities happens to be his sense of humor, however mangled it may be. The best example of this is on "I Hate Emo," a tale of frustration with a certain music sub-genre and the participants therein. The song features a false start, a "Stray Cat Strut"-aping riff, an appropriation of Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" and the lyrics "I don't know how they wear their hair." Also hilarious is "Fu Fu Killa," in which Snyder quips, "Where is all the unicorns / baby I don't know / they have all been put down / well we can only hope so."
The album's live tracks (recorded at the Brass Rail and O'Sullivan's) offer a slight departure from the rest of the disc. The live material takes on a different quality, as if Snyder were playing in a dank pit and the audience was standing at the very lip, drinking and egging him on. "To The River" has a more haunting vibe in this reverb-soaked environment. Snyder seems to play with more conviction and hunger in the live settings. "Poor Little Baby Blue" is a barnburner, and "Howlin" might be the best song on the record.
Shut Your Mouth Round Me is a great achievement for a truly solo artist. Offering the length of nearly three traditional albums, the record exceeds expectations in quality and quantity. PoopDeFlex takes the more-is-more approach, packing the time limit and putting the whole of his soul into every spare second of the release. Just like any respectable bluesman would. (Z.B. Smith)