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The Snakes
The Snakes
Bomp!


Despite the cover’s reference to “Peel slowly,” The Snakes have few obvious Velvet Underground leanings.  The 60’s influence is more akin to psychedelic folk like The Byrds.  The foreboding cobra logo belongs on a green-sleeved baseball jersey worn in a different decade.  The straighter tunes will to appeal to revivalists keen on Train and Wallflowers, while the slow drag has the sorrow of Leonard Cohen.  A bit of garage and glam are thrown in, spreading the love to all their influences.  Not only does the sound pay homage, the lyrics hide in-jokes for all of us who saw ourselves in Hi-Fidelity.

“Hourly, Nightly” starts out with slow romantic moog music.  The psychedelic folk jangle is joined by Beatles backmasking.  “Run Cherry Run” takes root in Dylan’s electric conversion at Newport.  Throwing in a taste of southern rock with thick harmonies.  The boys like a groove, and on “Little Deaths” they explore fuzzed out psychedelic blues.  There’s some reserved distortion and mild Cream wanking.  They keep it tasteful and to the point.  The faster tunes “Scene From A Cadillac,” with its re-written Beatles lyrics and “I’m So Bored” have an interesting Bowie meets Hendrix feel.  Singer Lenny Pops has a believable soulful voice.  He knows how to be expressive without the bullshit.  Oh, I get it…Lenny Pops.  In “Jesus’s Son” the darkness builds from low rumblings of voice and organ to a slow Seeds dynamic. 

“Dawn Once Removed” and “Tender Mercies” make the Tom Petty play, albeit with fascinating visions of redefined Dylan visions.  “The electric children scream/’cause they got sucked into the scene/while the vacuum tube just subtley lays down and dies for you.”  Another bluesy rocker comes in “Happy.”  Buzzy and drum-driven, it hopes for joy and achieves excitement.  “Long, Long Time” can’t fail, with its old-time drumming and gentle crooning.  Uplifting with a soft gospel feel.  Look out for the hidden track.   It’s burried under wah-wah.  Pops delivers it with dreamy falsetto that rivals Oasis.

The Snakes make it too easy to play the name that influence, but it’s dangerous to stop with that.  Once the influence wears off, these are great songs.  They seem to be making a point about the connections.  Dylan influenced Hendrix who influenced Iggy Pop and Kravitz.  They are historians of a sort, but the engaging downer music they’ve compiled is relevant.  Whether the music is derivative of, or flavored by their heroes, there’s more than just surface here.

Ewan Wadharmi

Track Listing:

  1. Hourly, Nightly
  2. Run Cherry Run
  3. Little Deaths
  4. Scene From a Cadillac
  5. I’m So Bored
  6. Jesus’ Son
  7. Dawn Once Removed
  8. Tender Mercies
  9. Happy
  10. Long, Long Time

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