The perennially satisfying Halifax indie band Nap Eyes released their excellent album Snapshot Of A Beginner back in March. Today they’re back with two B-sides from those sessions, the drowsy but infectious “Snake Oil” and the remarkably poppy and upbeat guitar banger “Child’s Romance.”
Here’s singer Nigel Chapman on the former:
“Snake oil” is a well-known idiom of course, for which everyone will have their own associations, and no doubt anyone listening today will be able to find some apropos uses for it. At the same time, the song is kind of a contradiction or riddle, because whatever this “snake oil” literally represents, the singer is apparently brewing and stewing it as some kind of sustenance. Who knows what that might mean…it’s a riddle even to me, but I wonder could it have something to do with the dangers at the opposite extreme of the gullibility spectrum — those of hyper-skepticism…?
And here are his thoughts on the latter:
To me, it’s child-like in that it’s expressing admiration and affection for another person, but without any romantic-relationship-oriented ulterior motives. After writing it I was thinking it’s maybe a bit like the “courtly love” attitude expressed in medieval literature (the early/original “Romances”), which is a slightly outlandish combination of aesthetics, idealism, and passion. On another level, I think the song is about learning, as we grow up, to differentiate between feelings of romantic love and more friendly admiration and warmth that we feel towards others. The following should go without saying of course, but it’s definitely necessary to make room for both kinds of feelings in our psychology—rather than expecting ourselves to feel only one or the other.
Check out both songs below.