When you get an album to review that describes the band behind it as being; “a combination of synth-infused noise rock, bad-trip psychedelia, flamboyant proto-metal boogie, and unhinged basement-show hardcore.” I will challenge anyone not to have their interest immediately piqued.
I mean, what the hell did These Arms Are Snakes actually sound like when their spark burned brightly, albeit briefly, back in the noughties?
Well, ‘Duct Tape & Shivering Crows’, a thirteen track retrospective of the Seattle band’s seven year career, is certainly as good a place as any to find out.
With a tracklisting that runs in reverse order and kicks off with one of the last tracks the band recorded in the shape of the spikey ‘Meet Your Mayor’, These Arms Are Snakes immediately have me thinking of bands like Drive Like Jehu, Burning Airlines and Wales’s very own Midasuno. This is music that is never going to get played on mainstream radio, but then again what music worth writing about actually does?
For me, it’s when the keyboards kick in during the Snakes’ take on Lost Sounds’ ‘Energy Drink And The Long Walk Home’ and the shadows of the grossly overlooked The (International) Noise Conspiracy are cast long over proceedings that the band fully ignite adding their own unique stamp to the song, something they then proceed to do with their almost Fall-esque take on Nirvana’s ‘Heart Shaped Box’. Interesting stuff indeed.
For the slightly more adventurous of you out there, it’s the likes of ‘Old Paradise’ with it’s almost Voivod like time changes and the mosh pit adrenaline rush of ‘Payday Loans’ that literally explodes from the speakers after an initial semi-ambient intro, that should get you grinning from ear to ear.
Finishing the set off with four songs from the band’s very first demo, ‘Duct Tape & Shivering Crows’ is only missing an overpriced can of beer, a perma-sticky dancefloor and the stench from the toilets to make it feel like the perfect night out at Newport’s Legendary TJ’s back in the early noughties, and as ‘The Blue Rose’ delivers the album’s watermelon Bubblicious influenced final notes, I can close my eyes and almost feel like I’m right back there.
You can sample the magic for yourselves (and maybe even recreate your very own favourite long lost music venue too) when ‘Duct Tape & Shivering Crows’ is released via Suicide Squeeze Records on CD, cassette, digital formats, and 2xLP on April 15th 2022.
Author: Johnny Hayward