Porcella CD - In the Red

Canadian sextet The Deadly Snakes prefer the sixties. Not just first division garage rockers, but myriad music makers from the Lyndon Johnson era, as evidenced on the bandís latest opus, Porcella. Lo-fi raunch is still present on slices such as "Debt Collection," "Sissy Blues" and Brit invasion soundalike "High Prices Going Down" (where the six piece sounds like another company of carnivores, The Animals). The group's last album (2003's Ode to Joy) added soul and Motown moments, and that means there's more New Orleans and Memphis in the mix than before, but the band members also tread some odder pathways, bringing in multiple influences and instruments, including toy piano, a string section, and Mellotron. This is what you might get if Captain Beefheart dined with Leonard Cohen or The Zombies jammed with Nick Cave. Happy-go-lucky, horn-laden "Gore Veil" hides darkness ("There was blood on my hands," goes the chorus). "So Young and So Cruel" invokes Arthur Lee's Love as well as the Stax/Volt style and is an ominously swinging homage to "dandy and fine" gentlemen heartbreakers. "Let It All Go" has an acoustic blues base but ends with grand piano instead of a typical slide guitar breakdown. It's these points of departure from the norm that give Porcella a distinctively venturesome tone. This is a record of intensity rather than high-energy bashing. (Doug Simpson)



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