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Death lurks on new Hot Snakes LP "Jericho Sirens"

Sub Pop
New Hot Snakes record is "Jericho Sirens"
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ALBUM REVIEW: Jericho Sirens by Hot Snakes (Sub Pop) 2018

The power and intensity of the first Hot Snakes recording in almost 15 years is really quite stunning in an era where earnest, urgent punk rock is most needed.

As political poet, writer and Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins put it after the election of Donald Trump: “This is punk rock time. This is what Joe Strummer trained you for.”

So when singer Rick Froberg - alongside the shredded-chrome guitar lines of John Reis (both were in Drive Like Jehu, Reis in Rocket From the Crypt) and the thundering rhythms of drummers Mario Rubalcaba and Jason Kourkounis and bass-man Gar Wood – screams about needed a doctor, on “I Need A Doctor,” you believe him. This is an emergency! The music enveloping Froberg’s vocals makes that all too clear.

The title track, which chugs along in a Superchunk-y fashion, has the tinnitus-plagued frontman lament the “auditory parasite” that is “boring a hole in my head.” You are not imagining it. Those walls of Jericho are tumblin’ down and they are pretty damn loud!

Another standout, “Death Camp Fantasy,” with Froberg and Reis’s whipsaw strumming and lyrics about being preyed upon by “Darwin, Disney and Freud,” takes you into a cacophonous frenzy, worthy of this band. And "Death Doula" (there is that reference to death again) has a garage-rock, Nuggets vibe that works well here. 

Same with the spooky and vaguely psychedelic "Death of a Sportsman." Pure menace, while the Grim Reaper puts a tiger in your tank.

If anything, Jericho Sirens goes to musical places surpassing the Hot Snakes of the original early 2000’s time period. Listen to “Six Wave Hold-Down.” Froberg lets the complacent hipsters have it when he caustically sings: “It’s not been enough / Being pissed but idle / It ain’t enough / You get no points for style.” So all you beardies out there, get out of the brewpub and into the streets. These are those times The Clash sang about on classics like “Spanish Bombs” and “Police and Thieves.”

Oh, and Jericho Sirens is dedicated to the late singer/guitarist Fred Cole (The Lollipop Shoppe/Dead Moon) and Malcolm Young, the late guitarist of AC/DC.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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