The first Hot Snakes album in 14 years, ‘Jericho Sirens’, does a magnificent job in living up to the cult reputation that their first three records built up in their absence.
During a recent interview discussing Hot Snakes’ abrupt 2005 split, the band’s lead singer John Reis seemed blatantly uninterested in providing any version of modest reasoning. “I considered stopping playing guitar on a social media poll after I completely mastered the instrument,” said the apparently brazenfaced guitarist, but from a man who’s in excess of nearly ten variant rock outfits and even has his own record label under his belt, it’s hard not to buy into the arrogance.
Reforming the band for their fourth album, and their first since their much-loved trio of original LPs, Jericho Sirens lives up to the hype. Deciding to reunite with longstanding bandmate Rick Froberg, who also boasts a similar career tangent, the pair’s veteran relationship bears little to no signs of sluggishness. Picking seamlessly up from where they left off, Reis and Froberg’s first Hot Snakes album in nearly 14 years returns with blunt and convincing force.
First track ‘I Need A Doctor’ leaves no pause to reintroduce fans to the pace and riff power responsible for their esteemed position amongst the post-hardcore and garage punk scenes. Laying waste to America’s national health crisis, Hot Snakes’ attitude remains robustly intact. Also tackling the 21st century stance on big game hunting, ‘Death Of A Sportsman’ offers the band’s candid opinions on what should happen to those still partial to a good old-fashioned blood sport.
Very little manages to extinguish the volume during the ensuing half an hour. Relinquishing blow after blow, Jericho Sirens’ 10-track barrage never once breaks pace, yet rarely falls into repetition. In the same interview, Reis explained his stimulus for the new album, saying “the inspiration would be simple, maybe even kind of straightforward. Very early rock ‘n’ roll DNA with lots of rules.” The album’s title track holds true to this statement, simple rock riffs twisted into Hot Snakes’ coarse idea of melody with each guitar rip falling densely onto the next.
Whilst other bands will reunite alongside a stable rationale for doing so, Jericho Sirens doesn’t feel like it has as much of a justified premise. But that doesn’t actually appear to matter. Free of anything to really prove, least of all to themselves, Hot Snakes have managed to make 14 years seem like it were only yesterday and hold tightly to relevance without even a slight hint of struggle. Any other artists with their eyes on reformation should start taking notes, because Hot Snakes have barely skipped a beat. (7/10) (Ollie Rankine)
Listen to Jericho Sirens by Hot Snakes here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!
Tags: album, Gar Wood, Hot Snakes, Jason Kourkounis, Jericho Sirens, John Reis, Mario Rubalcaba, Ollie Rankine, review, Rick Froberg, Sub Pop
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