It's only been 14 years (!!!) since the band's last release, but Jericho Sirens is a superb scorcher.
March 19, 2018 | by Andrew K. Lau
Stop typing. Turn on stereo receiver. Gently set platter into table. Let the arm’s graceful arc towards the edge of the LP be the last moment of silence for the next 30 minutes. And then… ka-blam! Hot Snakes have returned.
Jericho Sirens is the first in a reportedly series of new material with two others already in the proverbial can. With finesse. With speed. The gang’s all here: Reise, Froberg, the always steady and classy Wood, plus their two drummers, Kourkounis and Rubalcaba trading off rhythmic duties. Tag team drummers — the Hot Snakes Sound.
“I hear somethin’ strange / It seems outta of range,” sings Froberg on the title cut, and he’s right. It’s a weird, sometimes uncomfortable world out there for some of us, but the Hot Snakes Sound is a much-needed breeze, hitting hard with melody, speed, finesse, smudgy guitar/bass lines, and deeply resonating snare drums, everything redlining the VU meter. Come and get it. Come on. The quick chopping attack of “Death Camp Fantasy.” Come and get it. Come on. “Candid Cameras” and “Why Don’t It Sink In?” are both so above the mark the vocals tumble unrecognizable with distortion only to have “Six Wave Hold Down” pulling the mood to a semi-even keel. This is life now. Take it. Blanket yourself. We’re in this together, right? The ragged, high sheen of “Having Another?” streaks into “Death Doula.” Gee, some of these titles are a trifle dark, but then Froberg yells: “I want you replaced!” There, that’s better; we need some positivity.
“Death of a Sportsman” and its deep opening rumble should inspire listeners to start their own bands if they don’t have a few going already. Make it happen. Come and get it, go and do it. Come on. Hot Snakes, they’ve already given us so much. Their love of melody. Froberg’s singular vocal delivery. Their penchant for driving twin-guitar riffs into the ground. An unmatched rhythm section. Their commitment to the craft. It will make you smile. They’re here to work, delivering tuff, sharp-edged songs with precision musicianship. Nothing’s been lost during their 14-year studio absence. This band hit the songs hard without overstaying their welcome: get in, get the hell out, and dive into another one. With speed. With finesse. Go. The Hot Snakes Sound.
Every record of theirs seems to hit the spot — even the downer Suicide Invoice from 2002 — and Jericho Sirens is no different. You can trust this band. Buy it with folding money. Fuck Spotify and put off donating to NPR. Instead, take that money down to your record shop because you need this on wax. It’s urgent. Wait, scratch that: Get this any way you can, by any means. Cassette? Guess so. Streaming? If you must and only if you know the artists are getting their cut of the action. Did Sub Pop release this on reel-to-reel? I hope so because my Teac gets lonely.
The silence is overwhelming when the turntable’s arm lifts at the end of side two, and before it can set down onto the little armrest there at the side of the player my mind is already thinking: “What just happened?” Flip it over, start it over. The Hot Snakes. Come and get it… come on, Come On, COME ON.
Today is a holiday. Jericho Sirens.
Full Album Stream provided by Sub Pop. Buy Jericho Sirens at the Sub Pop Mega Mart.