It’s taken nearly five years and innumerable frenzied, funhouse live performances for Knoxville’s CrumbSnatchers to finally reach the point of releasing their first full-length album, the forthcoming Big House, rolling out May 20 with a release-party show at Scruffy City Hall.
“It seems crazy it’s taken this long to do it,” says CrumbSnatchers frontman Sam “Guetts” Guetterman, explaining the long wait for the Lenoir City band’s long-player debut. “But none of us were very savvy at recording. We didn’t all have home studio equipment. So we just worked our butts off at jobs until we made enough money to rent studio time. And it took a while.”
No worries, though, because while the band may not know much about studios, they do know how to rock. If you’ve never heard the ‘Snatchers play, know that you can glean a lot about the band just by taking in Guetterman himself. Like Guetts — a lanky 6’5 scarecrow with a sweet smile and a Joey Ramone ‘do — the CrumbSnatchers’ music is loopy and angular, relentlessly good-natured yet animated by a weird, spastic energy.
In laying tracks for Big House, Guetterman says the band sought to capture a measure of that madcap onstage vibe. “I think that’s we’ve gotten much better at that since we recorded our EP (Asbestos You Can from 2013),” Guetts says. “At the time, we didn’t know what went into translating our energy into a recording.
“Now we’re getting at what it is that happens at a rowdy CrumbSnatchers show. It’s nuanced, in that sense. There are lots of things we put it in there to make it feel ‘live.'”
Guetts says the new record features 14 songs, including a couple of holdover tracks from the aforementioned EP — “Rubber Trees” and “Damage.” Most of the rest of the tunes, however, will be well-recognized by serious ‘Snatchers fans. “At this point, we’ve played almost all of the new ones live,” Guetts says. “Of course, our sound is always changing, a little bit at a time each time we play a song.”
The songs are of a piece, in the sense that they are imminently recognizable as CrumbSnatchers tracks — irrepressibly tuneful, and featuring ably interwoven strands of prog and power pop, punk and hard rock. But Guetts is quick to point out that recognizable doesn’t mean predictable, or at least, not where the CrumbSnatchers are concerned.
“A lot of bands, they find a groove or a drum beat or whatever, and they repeat that,” he says. “We don’t do that. In that sense, not many of our songs sound the same. The groove, the riff, the beats, all of those things change pretty frequently.”
Guetts says the CrumbSnatchers have matured some in recording Big House, inasmuch as the band members “fit in better with each other.
“It used to be that we were all really busy as players,” Guetts says. “And we’d all just start playing as fast as we could until we came together. Now we’re less chaotic. We have a tighter feel. We definitely know our roles better.
“But when we get up to play a show, we still like to jump up and down, get up on tables and scream. We’re always excited to play. People kind of expect that from us now, and it’s fun to try to live up to those expectations.”
The CrumbSnatchers CD release show will be held Friday, May 20 at 8 p.m. in Scruffy City Hall with special guests Ex Gold, the Tom Pappas Collection, and Is That a Hawk?