Soon come: The Snakes on Bucketfull Of Brains Records (BoB 131)
AmericanaUK’s ‘new heroes of British country rock’ are back, with a new drummer, former Mega City Four sticksman Chris Jones, to celebrate the release of a much anticipated third album: The Last Days Of Rock & Roll.
The eclectic new album sees the band expanding on their established alt-country repertoire from Stonesesque country swagger through soulful Celtic folk to the dirty rock & roll of Mott The Hoople and Mink Deville, sharing a bottle of bourbon with Tom Petty and Bob Dylan along the way.
The Last Days Of Rock & Roll is also the first Snakes album to feature a cover version, with enigmatic ‘The French Girl’, a long lost gem discovered via Gene Clark, and also revisited by Bob Dylan on the Basement Tapes.
The Last Days Of Rock & Roll is not a lament, but a declaration of defiance in an age of intangible downloads and disposable talent shows. It expands on its critically acclaimed predecessor Sometime Soon, with the added instrumentation of violin, sitar, saxophone and pedal steel, plus a special guest appearance from Redlands Palomino’s singer Hannah Elton-Wall on the dynamic country rock opener ‘Too Hard’.
‘The Band Played On’, a song originating from a wild jam session, accelerates from coiled potential energy to a frenzied rock & roll crescendo. Lyrically prescient, it foretold of the subsequent line up change…”I should have known there was something wrong, when the drummer stopped and the band played on”.
The freewheeling rock & roll stomp of ‘Here We Go Again’ written by guitarist Richard, sees the band revelling in booze and blues a la The Faces and Stones, in a perennial tale of tavern banter.
‘Three Little Wishes’ is a heartfelt promise of love from father to child, wistfully delivered by Simon to his daughter, while the hauntingly poignant ‘Jerry’s Chair’, with an intro shrouded in Celtic mist, mourns the loss of Johnny’s father, as seen through the eyes of his drinking buddies.
‘Look What We Could Have Been’, is The Snakes with the dial set to ‘epic’; Simon’s tailor-made classic, stitched with vintage cloth left over from the making of Ian Hunter’s flares.
The title track ‘The Last Days Of Rock & Roll’, featuring a guest ‘choir’, is a song of two halves : three minutes of enticingly crafted lyrics and chords, followed by three minutes of one single chord in a glorious extravaganza, that builds like a tower of power, in an unstoppable homage to the golden age of rock & roll, turning the vibes up to eleven!
Over the last ten years, The Snakes have become known as the bad boys of alt-Country, with their guitar-fuelled rock & roll, Uncut Magazine dubbed them as ‘Muswell Hill’s own Whiskeytown’ following their appearance on Clubhouse Records’ compilation CD, Divided By A Common Language – A Collection Of UK Americana.
Their debut album, Songs From The Satellites (2006), brought them to the attention of legendary BBC Radio 2 broadcasters Bob Harris and Mark Lamarr, who both declared themselves fans of the band, with Mark Lamarr inviting them into the studio for a live session, having been particularly impressed by the dark, twang laden delights of ‘I’ll Be Around’.
The second album, Sometime Soon…(2010), brought further rave reviews including four stars in Uncut Magazine, along with repeated weekly airplay on Mark Lamaar’s BBC Radio 2 show, as well as other national and international airplay, notably on Ireland’s RTE1.
Furthering their International reputation the band were included alongside the likes of Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Kevin Costner, on a double CD compilation album released in Germany entitled Country Rock Heads Vol.1 (2011)
With a reputation on the rise, the songs to back it up and a Chinese calendar to hand, one thing is certain; 2013 will not be The Last Days Of Rock & Roll for The Snakes!
And the band played on…