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Artist: These Arms are Snakes
Date Released: September 21, 2004
Label: Jade Tree
Produced By: Matt Bayles
- The Shit Sisters
- Angela's Secret
- Big News
- Your Pearly Whites
- Gadget Arms
- Greetings from the Great North Woods
- La Stanza Bianca
- Darlings of New Midnight
EPs are an excellent medium for young bands to establish themselves within the music market. They usually consist of 4 or 5 songs, which lets the band pick their best concoctions for display. The EP showcases the band, which should be at full throttle, and is over before giving a listener a chance to over analyze or grow bored. This method has proved successful for any number of acts, but the inevitable follow-up full length is what really defines the band. These Arms are Snakes' 2003 EP This is Meant to Hurt You rightfully portrayed the aggressive post-punk in five acidicly addictive songs. It also landed the band as the opening act for a number of more popular post-punk groups and stirred up some well-deserved hype. The stage was set for the much anticipated full-length, did These Arms are Snakes rise to the occasion? Yes and no.
Musically, the strangely named album picks up right where the EP let off, complete with sinister guitar licks, explosive bass lines, spaced-out effects and Steve Snere’s sassy, confrontational vocals. As a whole, the music is somehow heavy and ethereal at the same time, not to mention capable of creating both an insane mosh pit and a dance floor meltdown. And this is all after the band was cut down to a threesome, including former members of Botch and Kill Sadie (and Minus the Bear’s Erin Tate sitting in on drums). It is somewhat of a concept album in that lyrics were initially a short story written by Snere commenting on observations made while working at his job in one of Seattle’s check cashing services. Produced by Matt Bayles (Blood Brothers, Isis, Mastodon, Pretty Girls Make Graves), Oxeneers is an acceptable progression from the EP, but leaves much to be desired. It is vicious, angular, intense, confrontational, infectious and sexy all in the same moment, but somewhat degrades at times. At first listen, the album is exactly what you would hope as a follow up. But over time, I find myself continually reaching back to the EP, which confines the demanding music into a much more suitable 20 minutes. So, the full-lenth is as adequate as it possibly could be, but nothing above that title... which I believe makes me more of an unappeasable critic than Oxeneers a dissappointment. Mpardaiolo