Brianna Snider and Matthew McCroskey embark on an endless summer
Scheduling a shoot for the photograph to accompany this article, the two musicians in Bexley Moms — Brianna Snider and Matt McCroskey — quickly settled on the Bexley Pool off Clifton Avenue. This despite the fact that the facility was closed. And that it’s February. And that the temperature hovered just above 30 degrees on the Saturday the photo was taken.
But the decision made sense as the pair described the gradual process of uncovering a sound for the band, which started on a lark in 2017 because the two wanted to experiment writing with one another.
“As we wrote over time, we started figuring out our style and what we’re about,” said McCroskey, who joined Snider for an interview at a Bexley coffee shop, just down the road from where the two met while attending Capital University. “Our album, whenever we finish it, is going to be called ‘Music for Water Parks,’ because I feel like that’s going to be the vibe.”
“Beachy, tropical,” Snider interjected.
“But also not super serious,” McCroskey continued. “We’re trying to create this weird, tropical idea, like Jimmy Buffett and people listening to Jimmy Buffett at a water park, but very mutated.”As someone prone to sun poisoning and excessive sweating, Andy is not ready to sign up for an endless summer. You, however, should sign up for our daily newsletter
McCroskey said a stint working at Disney World in Florida following his graduation influenced the direction, plus the nostalgia he and Snider shared growing up making annual trips to Geauga Lake, a water park in Aurora, Ohio, that served as a summer destination for anyone who grew up in Northeast Ohio (this writer included). Judging by the tracks now streaming on Bexley Mom’s Bandcamp, the long-shuttered park served as prime inspiration in its current abandoned, overgrown state, songs like the scuzzy, borderline industrial “Wildwater Kingdom” arriving covered in thick layers of sonic moss.
“I don’t get to do that often because my other projects are very soft, so the fact I can get really loud and distorted in this project is really fun,” said Snider, who also plays with McCroskey in the band Salt Lick.
While sonic inspiration might come from suntan lotion-coated hoards and twisting, neon-colored water slides, the lyrics can still be insular, at times, such as on the lo-fi, surf-inflected “My Space,” a song on which McCroskey sings about stowing away indoors, safe from the sun’s rays. “I’d rather stay in my room,” he sings.
“When I was writing, I was essentially just freestyling and naming things inside my room at my parents’ house,” said McCroskey, who will join Snider in concert at Café Bourbon St. on Thursday, Feb. 13. “When I moved back [to Ohio] from Florida, I lived with my parents, and I didn’t have a job for five or six months, and I just wanted to move out, which is what the whole song is about.”
Both bandmates grew up in musical families. Snider’s dad was a radio DJ in her hometown of Pittsburgh, and she started playing drums at the age of 10 because, as she put it, “I was a jittery child and I wanted to flail my arms and legs.” Eventually, she gravitated toward the guitar, first learning to play on an acoustic autographed by Jon Bon Jovi, eventually losing privileges to the instrument after breaking a string.
McCroskey also dabbled in percussion early on, eventually playing drums in the high school marching band. Beginning in fifth grade, he started taking weekend guitar lessons with his dad, strumming along to the likes of Simon & Garfunkel and the Beach Boys, which are embedded in his DNA.
“I definitely feel like that was a weird base for a lot of the stuff that I do now,” he said. “I would file [those songs] away in my brain, and then I had a whole playlist that I’d listen to that I named ‘Music for Water Parks,’ which is the kind of music I look for now, almost like a mood board. … It’s that kind of style where it makes it feel like the sun is out and it’s warm and you’re having fun.”
“And it’s always summer,” Snider added.
Even when the swimming pool is closed in February.