HOT SNAKES: Suicide Invoice: CD

Feb 18, 2009

First, the rant. Although I understand the music industry wants to give reviewers music before it hits the shelves to build excitement and that artwork often doesn’t get finished until the last minute, but I can’t help but feel like a chump when I get a piece of music in a clear plastic baggie solely with the album name, song titles, and street date instead of the full package. (This also coming from ex-members of Drive Like Jehu who silkscreened on their CD, “CD’s really fuckin’ blow.” Why do CDs blow? One reason – shittier, smaller artwork. But versus no artwork at all…? I digress.) It’d be like me sending out magazines “for preview” with a bunch of pages missing and without a cover. That shit just ain’t right. It’d be another thing if I wasn’t even a fan of music and I worked for Spin; if this was just my job that I hated, being a barometer of what’s hot, happening, and now and then just rewriting the press kit. I like the Hot Snakes, so it just bums me out that I don’t even know what the album looks like. Plus, without a package, I tend to lose all the skinny CDs in my piles. Now the review. This is the mellower, more rock’n’roll side to their debut, Permanent Midnight. The structures are tighter and more traditional, there are less sproinging angularities and meticulous breakaparts which smear into blasts and whispers. It’s all more straight ahead – well, as straight ahead as you’re apt to get from the twisty music from present and ex-members of Mule, Pitchfork, Rocket From The Crypt, and Tanner. It’s like with the first album, they were charting music as complicated as a heart – veins, arteries, and jumping, jittering parts – and Suicide Invoice is a large leg muscle being operated under ether with big, splotted tools. It’s creepier and more sparse overall and you can see how the all parts operate and help one another. The diagram’s simpler, the lighting’s steadier, but the result is pretty much the same. A kickass, non-traditional rock’n’roll album by a bunch of veterans who know how to not sound like a supergroup. (Name a single supergroup that was better than groups the members were famous from. Two points off if you even thought of Damn Yankees or the Traveling Wilburys.)

 –todd (Swami)