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Ode to Joy

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Album Review

The Deadly Snakes' brand of rootsy rock is derivative of many forms of loose, boozy, and sometimes trashy rock & roll, R&B, and soul. There are always plenty of bands around that subscribe to a similar aesthetic, but on this record the band's a cut or two above most of the others in this particular camp. The songs have a spunky scruffiness that feels at once lived-in and not taken so seriously that there's not an undercurrent of self-mocking fun, particularly when Andre Ethier takes lead vocals. While it's a mélange of time-tested revered forms like '60s garage (particularly the kind with swirling cheesy organ), gritty Southern soul, greasy bar band raunch, swamp rock, and the sardonic knowing hipness of Lou Reed and Bob Dylan, it blends together pretty well. "Closed Casket" and "Everybody Seems to Think (You've Got Some Kind of Hold on Me)" in particular sound like mid-'60s Dylan gone garage punk, while the ghost of Reed peeks out in "There Goes Your Corpse Again." It's also, in another difference from some other bands working off similar reference points, reasonably varied from cut to cut. The relatively unpenetrating lyrics, which relay the usual young frustration and angst in rousing but basic standard rock & roll rebel language, are what keep it from being something more meaningful. It sounds at times rather like the Lyres with a far greater soul flavor (particularly in the periodic horns), which isn't a bad thing, just not the most wonderful thing.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Deadly Snakes are a rock & roll band. Formed by a group of Toronto friends, the Snakes quickly gained local attention for their recklessly fun live shows. André St. Clair (vocals, guitar), Max Danger (organ, piano), Matt "Dog" Carlson (trumpet, harmonica), Yuri Didrichsons (bass), Andrew Gunn (drums), and Carson Binks (saxophone) first began playing together in 1996. Their adrenaline-charged '60s Southern soul remained authentic enough to escape pretensions and build a small following. After...
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