There are bands that you just trust, where even if a song seems to come out of left field, you give them the benefit of the doubt and keep listening. For me, Hot Snakes are one of those bands. They have a very wormy quality about them; their songs have a way of burrowing deep into your brain to the point where it becomes a specific craving, like “I want to listen to this particular band,” instead of “I want to listen to punk rock.” Comparisons are hard to make. Essentially, it’s straight-ahead rock and roll with thick, jarring percussion and a moody, explosive skew to it, but it’s so much more than that. There are very distinct, almost ethereal guitar lines wrapping themselves around every song, a bit like the Wipers. It’s experimental, but it’s airtight rather than self-indulgent, more like No Means No than Sonic Youth. Much like the last Fugazi album, the familiarity between the musicians leads to much broader musical landscapes instead of predictability. In the end, though, they don’t sound like anybody but Hot Snakes. Lyrically, they’re unparalleled; Rick’s ability to make the abstract seem very personal amazes me more and more with each listen. They’re fucking unreal live, too. Everything about this record is unbelievable.