The Snakes

The Snakes

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Appearances can be deceptive, and from the packaging of the Snakes' debut, you could be forgiven for expecting something far more loutish than what it actually contains. With a The Velvet Underground and Nico takeoff cover (a "peel slowly" arrow pointing to a venomous green snake), a photo of two nude snake-tailed women embracing, and a "paid for by: the committee to keep music evil" note on the back cover, you might brace yourself for some noise by a bunch of bad-asses. In fact it's reasonably ingratiating guitar pop/rock with stronger debts to the Byrds than anyone else, sprinkled with some particularly Roger McGuinn-like guitar figures. It's moodier than the Byrds, or indeed typical jangle pop groups that derive heavily from the Byrds, with sullen vocals from Lenny Pops (presumably multi-tracked often, since he's the only member credited with vocals on the sleeve). There's also a bit of post-1970 toughness in the vein of the likes of Lou Reed, the Who, and Elvis Costello in songs like "Scene From a Cadillac," while a bit of David Bowie's glam camp and Bob Dylan's vintage sneer sneaks into "I'm So Bored." Despite all the convenient reference points, this is better done, and less pretentious, than many a record that takes a lot of influence from pre-1980 sources, even if it isn't a remarkable one.

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