Eva Moolchan — better known by her stage name, Sneaks — existence is a but of an anomaly: she is a queer black woman operating in the male-dominated, Baltimore/Washington metropolitan punk scene. Her last two records, Gymnastics and It’s A Myth, played on her inherent distinctiveness, combining post-punk, hip hop, and electric influences in a manner just a fluid as her persona.
Think Lorde’s first Warped Tour, or if M.I.A. had an emo phase.
And with her third studio album, Highway Hypnosis, slated for release in late January, it appears that Moolchan has finally perfected this sound. “Hong Kong to Amsterdam,” one of the project’s first singles, dives further into her electronic sensibilities.
The track begins in a deceptively simple fashion as Moolchan chants “I’m running a mile/ I see to it/And I go with it.” W
Within the lyric’s physical implications — in addition to what sounds like a woodblock tracking her vocals word-for-word — there is an undeniable sense of urgency.
The chorus arrives in an explosive fashion: it’s a glitchy symphony of rattling hi hats, chopped vocals and ad-libs, and other various synthesizer goodies. The backing track lays the groundwork for Moolchan’s stutter-stepped delivery of “Hong Kong to Amsterdam.”
Yet as soon as you get comfortable with her spastic intensity, the chorus fades away to near silence, cleaning the sonic palette before we run yet another mile – although the instrumentation does differ slightly the second time around.
Which proves detrimental. The music is the driving force behind the track, and in combination with Moolchan’s limited, occasionally incoherent vocal delivery (which ultimately fails to keep the listener’s attention), is quick to grow stale.
Nonetheless, Moolchan has managed to craft 2018’s version of Santigold’s “Creator;” “Hong Kong to Amsterdam” is exciting, electric, unapologetically different, and worth a listen.
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