September 28, 2004
THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]OXENEERS OR THE LION SLEEPS WHEN ITS ANTELOPE GO[/I] REVIEW
Let's face it, the entire indie scene, the entire post-rock scene, and, well, just about the entire underground music scene is cropping up more and more bands that put out the same music as legions of other bands in the underground. Some of it may be music, but it's all the same good music. It would be hard for me to rate this album well if it was the generic post rock indie hardcore what-have-you that throngs of other bands are releasing in the present day. Looking at the cover art and the title of the album, I was quick to think that this record would fall in to that category.
Thankfully, however, on an aural level, I can't possibly put These Arms Are Snakes in that category. On their debut, many were quick to compare them to bands like Cave In, and they were right to do so. While not musically bad, it wasn't very different to the rest of the genre at the time.
Their niche, I suppose, on this album, is the use of the organ. One track, Tracing is an organ instrumental track. It's all fine and dandy that they devote a track to the organ, but it really disrupts the flow of the album, and doesn't really lead in to the next track at all. The reason that the fact that it doesn't lead in to the next track is odd, is because later on the album, the desolate song Oxeneer leads into the conclusion, Idaho splendidly. On the song La Stanza Bianca, the organ is implored very well in an intro coupled with drums and some distant background vocals.
One of the areas where this album fails is repetition. Some of the songs sound similar, not to the point where you can't differentiate between songs, but to the point where you'll start to think things like "Hey, that riff sounds familiar". Not to say that this is a horrendous thing, since one of the best parts of this album is the sense of unity that's found throughout it, but it occasionally becomes a little tiresome.
Overall, I applaud this album for breaking away from the mold and finding their own place in the sun, away from just about every other band. This provides fans of These Arms Are Snakes a unique sound that they can only get from this band. This way, the band has ensured at the very least a cult following, with their fans eagerly awaiting their next release. Even though this is only the first full-length from TAAS, I think they are definitely on the right track, and with their one-of-a-kind sound that would be difficult to reproduce, that they've solidified themselves as a band to look out for in the coming years, as indie continues it's ascent.
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