Snake! Snake! Snakes!- s/t EP

Snake! Snake! Snakes!- Snake! Snake! Snakes!

I can’t ever imagine saying “hey, let’s go see Snake! Snake! Snakes! tonight,” but a band can name themselves whatever they want. However, I do get the honor of reviewing the debut, self-titled EP of a young, ambitious band. Snakes! takes the art-rock approach, surprisingly underused, using layered, dense arrangements. They mix in violins, organs, bells, and piano when the song calls for them, though thankfully not all at once. The opener, “City on Fire” sounds Arcade Fire-ish, but this is a young band and influences will show; that’s okay. I couldn’t stick “City on Fire” to anything more than an influence as opposed to it sounding directly like another song. It rides a nice blend of vocal and instrumental melodic tug and pull, and jumps into a couple of hooks that give the song a nice pay-off.

“We Come Out at Night” is good barometer of how the rest of the EP shakes out. Snakes! allows their music to be punchy, despite the layers of instrumentation. The bass pounds at a quickened pace, while the drums are crashing to keep up. There are no solos or very many sections that standout as hooks from the music’s perspective, so their ability to find melody as complementary pieces is actually impressive. Frontman Jon Messenger absolutely kills his performance on the EP, which is something I hope he continues to develop as this band goes forward. His ability to drive melodies within the context of the music is fantastic, and I like when a vocalist can make songs catchy without using bubblegum, sing-songy tactics. We then come to the most polarizing thing about the EP. I winced when I heard the intro to “Porcelain,” which was a little too close to resembling Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” intro that everyone knows. I was thinking, “No! Snakes! don’t do this! You have such a good thing going!” Then the verse hits, subdued and somber, and it’s really damn good. If I had never heard “Wake Up,” this song would have blown my damn mind. It’s great, nonetheless–it has to be because Snakes! can’t help but make it a beautiful song, but “Wake Up” lingers over “Porcelain” just a little bit.

This EP is awesome. Snakes! has a ton of promise. As they play more, grow together, those Arcade Fire moments will be hashed out of them because they’re so talented, so I don’t worry about that aspect of them at all. We’re talking about a debut EP from a young band, so of course there will be lumps like the one I mentioned, but this is an ideal start for any band. I couldn’t be more excited for the full-length.