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Snake In the Grass

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Album Review

Back in the late '80s, there was a North Carolina band called Fetchin Bones whose musical mission was to introduce the Stooges and AC/DC into the relentlessly polite indie-jangle aesthetic of those college radio days, failing mostly because they didn't rock hard enough to be convincing. The similarly inspired Southern Bitch seem to be doing the same to the post-Strokes musical landscape, but unlike My Morning Jacket or Kings of Leon, this Athens-based band doesn't seem to be particularly wrapped up in examining its regional heritage, despite its name. After a Sonic Youth-style wave of harmonics opening, "True Born Leader" sounds like a rhythmically looser version of Interpol with Scott Asheton on lead guitar, and throughout the rest of this highly enjoyable album, lead singer Adam Musick and crew (including wife Wendy Musick, the aforementioned riffhead guitarist) stick to that basic template. Unlike Fetchin Bones, however, Southern Bitch have little problem writing memorable tunes to go along with their alterna-boogie riffs. In particular, "Free Man Now" has a chorus that's as catchy as anything on the Killers' Hot Fuss, mixed with some particularly Neil Young-like rhythm parts, and the two-part title track closes the album with a lengthy, squalling guitar solo that fades out onto an extended, melancholy piano instrumental, a combination that's so close to the structure of "Layla" that it can't have been entirely coincidental. It's clear that the members of Southern Bitch own a number of albums that came out before Never Mind the Bollocks, and the fearless mixture of new school and old makes Snake in the Grass a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Snake In the Grass, Southern Bitch
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