River of Snakes

Black Noise

Written by: BV on 26/12/2014 23:00:17

River of Snakes is an outfit I am not too familiar with. Having defined their own music as "Noise-Punk-Rock-Scuzz" I must admit I was a fair bit intrigued and decided to take them on as a challenge of sorts, straying a bit from my ever-increasing focus on all things psychedelic. “Black Noise” is the band’s debut album, containing nine tracks of fairly immediate outbursts of energy, somewhat philosophical lyrics and a love for all things noisy.

Opening with “Beauty”, the band immediately sets off on a downer of a musical journey with lyrics like ”I was on the run from love’s cruel hand / I lost my friend I lost my band”. The musical aspect matches quite well with the melancholic, introverted themes of the lyrics with a mid-tempo riff fuelled by a quite distorted bass and some occasionally dissonant, feedback-laden guitar work. The vocals sound utterly depressing in that lazy kind of way, which is quite fitting in its own right – leaving me no doubt that this particular choice of vocal technique is no mere coincidence.

Tracks like “I Wanna Be Your Baby” see the band faring with far less success as their initially intriguing blend of vocal technique, strangely melancholic lyrics and gritty instruments has been turned into something strangely reminiscent of radio-friendly grunge with a dash of noise-rock. Think Sonic Youth meets Mudhoney playing something from a 90’s movie about high-school kids trying to get laid. It’s a fairly unimpressive twist of events which sadly taints the remainder of my experience with the album.

Returning to some of the initial form with “Divine”, the band leans quite heavily on those grungy, noise-rock inspired pallets of sound that seemingly also drove “I Wanna Be Your Baby” but utilize them far more effectively this time around, with a lead-guitar that sounds like something straight out of Sonic Youth’s most influential days.

Many things can be said about “Black Noise” but I believe that the most immediate things to say can be summed up by pointing out that “Black Noise” is not a terrible album. Nor is it bad. What it is, is an above average debut album that showcases some initial promise that can improved on quite easily. Some of the tracks are already at the point where the band can really do something with them, whilst others lean dangerously close to indifference and borderline boredom. There is promise here, but the band still needs to work on their songwriting to maintain my interest throughout an entire album.


Download: Beauty, Divine
For the fans of: Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Mudhoney
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.07.2014
Bro Fidelity Records

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