Monday, October 30, 2006
This is the Hot Snakes and Suicide Invoice is its second album. Risen from the still-smoldering ashes of San Diego punk-rock-luminaries Drive Like Jehu, the Hot Snakes reunite the incomparably tight guitar/vocal duo of John Reis (also of Rocket from the Crypt) and Rick Froberg. The lineup is rounded out by bassist Gar Wood and drummer Jason Kourkounis (from Delta 72). And the sound is searing, gritty, penetrating.
If there is a signature sound to be found within the churning stomp of a Hot Snakes song, it would have to be the driving, pulsing intensity that fires the twin guitar assault directly from the speakers into the bullseye-painted ears of the listener. The album opens on a slower note with "I Hate the Kids," a none-too-subtle stab at a demographic without a work ethic. The next two cuts begin with an open chord strum, introducing tracks with more punk power crammed into two-point-five minutes than most acts can pack into a ten-year career. "XOX" features thick chords with a buried harmony that sounds increasingly dense as organ is added toward the end. "Who Died" is another brief blast, capped by Rick's anthemic shouts over a blistering progression.
But the real meat of the record is found in the middle third of the songs, starting with the title cut. Jason Kourkounis pounds out a thundering beat as the vocals come front and center during the relatively tame verse before exploding in fury during the chorus. The highlight of the album may be "Paid In Cigarettes" with its odd-time verses and absolutely infectious bridge. The last minute showcases John Reis dueling with Rick as the guitars pile on higher still with each passing second until organ swells up in the background and leads the fade out. "LAX" is here and gone in the blink of an eye, but not before you catch yourself yelling, "L-A-X!" at no one in particular just before a seamless transition into the equally crushing "Bye Nancy Boy." You may feel stunned when the sonic mayhem finally subsides.
Suicide Invoice is a modern essential. For those about to rock, it should be to this.
(Year of Release: 2002)
1. I Hate The Kids
2. Gar Forgets His Insulin
4. Who Died
5. Suicide Invoice
6. Paid In Cigarettes
8. By Nancy Boy
10. Why Does It Hurt
12. Ben Gurion
Download: Hot Snakes - Suicide Invoice (37.3MB)