September 3, 2004
THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]OXENEERS OR THE LION SLEEPS WHEN ITS ANTELOPE GO[/I] REVIEW
Oxeneers Or The Lions Sleeps When It's Antelope Go Home is the title of These Arms Are Snakes' first full-length for Jade Tree Records. The album title alone is an indication of things to come on this eleven-song effort. This band is definetly weird, from their odd lyrics to their different musical style to the way the vocals come out. Most of the band's vocals are talked with rhythm in a gritty, distorted way. You won't find any catchy or big choruses on this album, as most of the lyrics are talked as if though they were a story. However, what you will find is heavily distorted guitar riffs, great use of off-beat drum and bass, as well as a lot of musical interludes.
The band's emphasis on the music is very evident throughout the album, including the first track "The Shit Sisters". It begins in a raw state that is quickly changed once the vocals come in. The band doesn't really have much structure to their songs as you won't find defined verse and chorus parts. This is heard when the song takes a lot of twists and turns including a big, guitar driven part as well as a rhythmic bass and sound effect driven part. The band's more infectious sound comes in "Angela's Secret". Here they use a repeated guitar riff that can easily get stuck in any listener's head. They also throw in a very groovy, mellow part reminiscent of something The Blood Brothers would throw in one of their songs. "Big News" finds the band adding in a few parts where the guitar and bass integration is quickly noticeable as it forms a great sound. The song as a whole has much more going on than the previous two as there are parts that are chaotic and others that are melodic.
"Tracing Your Pearly Whites" has the guys opting for a slightly more mellow, eerie sound. During this song you'll find some of the band's odd lyrics coming into play with lines such as 'why do you let them count your teeth while you sleep...I want to be able to stick my fist in your mouth and feel all 32' showing up. Despite lyrics that I have a hard time coming up with meanings for, the song is very good musically. The use of different tones to the instruments as well as vocals provide for a good amount of diversity. "Greetings From The Great North Woods" features a few repeated parts which you could actually get some dance-vibe from. They sing 'these pigs were fed, these pigs were ready to be sold' which is backed by the quirkiest guitar, drum, and bass integration on the album. "La Stanza Bianca" has a slighty chaotic sound which is provided by the use of what seems to be a microkorg mixed with wild guitar riffs and shouty vocals. The closing track, "Idaho", brings part of their eerie sound back which is soon blocked out by a blistering guitar riff that is backed by a solid bassline. This part alone makes the song, however, they throw in a lot of lyrics that can quickly grab anyone's attention, especially when they read 'electronic talking parrots eating toothpicks as a mating ritual'.
After listening through a couple minutes of a pump organ the song ends this album at roughly forty-seven minutes. Throughout this time I have a hard time trying to come up with a label or tag for These Arms Are Snakes. They have some elements of post-hardcore, a lot of rock elements, and then a bunch of stuff they throw in that I've never heard together before. It's hard to believe this is just their first full-length, as it has the feeling of a band that has been making albums for a long time. The album defines a band who are nothing close to conventional and don't take themselves too seriously. They have made an album that is full of crazy song structures and loads of talent but most importantly creativity, and that is something music needs right now.
"La Stanza Bianca"
"Greetings From The Great North Woods"
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