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
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.
- Hourly, Nightly
- Run Cherry Run
- Little Deaths
- Scene From a Cadillac
- I’m So Bored
- Jesus’ Son
- Dawn Once Removed
- Tender Mercies
- Long, Long Time
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