Bob Lanois

Snake Road

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Although the length of Snake Road might suggest an EP, Bob Lanois has made the most out of that duration. A pretty, scenic, and tranquil instrumental like "The Vampire" makes the EP come to life immediately. The song contains harmonica, guitar, and piano and seems suited for a walk through a dense forest. With Bob Lanois assisted by his brother, acclaimed producer and musician Daniel Lanois, the songs were inspired by Daniel's Qu├ębecois roots. And that gentle vibe is a common thread throughout. However, genre-wise, Snake Road tends to go all over the map, with the impressive light and island-tinged title track flowing perfectly as if it were a dub reggae effort. The lone problem might be that it leaves you wanting more. From there, Lanois makes inroads with a thoughtful, jazz-accented lullaby called "Rendezvous," but the ensuing "Spaceshack" it a tad too, well, spacy for most ears. The ethereal feeling is brought down to earth with Bob Lanois' harmonica-playing during the number, which grows on the listener. Just as cheerful is the calm "My Mother's Waltz," which sounds like its roots are in a Scottish hillside. Although his brother tapped into this style with albums like Acadie, Bob Lanois is just as capable during the Cajun-laced "Le Draveur," which is unfortunately much too short. It's the relaxed, laid-back tone of the record that makes it work quite well, especially with the roots-centered "Negril," which brings to mind Mark Knopfler.

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