Music Reviews
Highway Hypnosis

Sneaks Highway Hypnosis

(Merge) Rating - 6/10

"I think I need a little wiggle room," Eva Moolchan states toward the beginning of The Way It Goes, the second song from her third album as Sneaks, Highway Hypnosis, and it's an obvious statement of purpose. The chintzy rumbling beats and zig-zagging synths signal a change in direction for the Washington, D.C. artist, whose two previous albums consisted of stripped-down, hypnotic post-punk that playfully tested its own boundaries. But here, she trades in one set of influences for another and gravitates toward a recent interest in electronic music and hip-hop.

As such, Highway Hypnosis is more focused on creating stoned beats overlapped with minimal loops and effects thrown in, giving Moolchan the obvious wiggle room to dance a little more. Oddly enough, though, the music isn't nearly as self-assured as anything on It's a Myth even though she approaches it with the same kind of gleeful brashness. Outside of The Way It Goes, the appropriately dirty Suck It Like a Whistle, or Ecstasy, it's an oddly uninspired and sluggish experience.

Songs recycle beats and ideas with few variations, and where she normally made the most of her minimal approach by creating something vivid and hypnotic from it, more often than not, the music comes off redundant. When things work, Moolchan sounds confident taking on new influences and playing around with them until they fit within her playful vision. Mostly, though, Highway Hypnosis is frustrating in that it feels more like a collection of potentially good but unfinished ideas that lack the focus and imagination needed to make them work.