Snakes and Music are easy to appreciate with the light, infectious and summery rock emanating from the tight, poppy opening title track. Think of a cross between Arcade Fire and Sloan and you get an idea of where this song is coming from. It's also a blueprint for the winding nature of some of these tracks. Another strong example of this is the grandiose "Burn the Bushes." Just as appealing and inviting is the downtempo "Please Explain," a timeless indie rock formula they nail, even throwing in a banjo during the homestretch. The group is comfortable riding this groove early on, especially with the sugar-coated "Hope Texas Treats You Like a Queen," which resembles Broken Social Scene. The first true curveball comes with the bluesy harmonica interlude called "Take Me Down to the River" which shines. Following the better-than-average "Sinking Ships," the group slows it down again with the wistful, Americana-laced "Heavy Strings." While good, the highlight has to be the slow brewing "Treading Water" which never boils over or breaks out. That or its antithesis, the slow and barren "Philadelphia" that creeps along at a snail's pace and brings to mind Neil Young or Matt Mays. Snakes and Music veer between both rock and roots effortlessly judging by the tired but terribly pleasing "Shut Up That's Why" that could've been found on a recent Wilco album.
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AllMusic Review by Jason MacNeil