The Snake the Cross the Crown - Cotton Teeth (Cover Artwork)

The Snake the Cross the Crown

The Snake the Cross the Crown: Cotton TeethCotton Teeth (2007)
Equal Vision Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5

Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Equal Vision Records is so diverse it makes the United Nations look like the Ku Klux Klan. Elitist douche bags aside, the label has something for (nearly) everyone. Huntsville, Alabama's the Snake the Cross the Crown quietly released their first album, Mander Salis, in 2004 on the label, but their i.
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Equal Vision Records is so diverse it makes the United Nations look like the Ku Klux Klan. Elitist douche bags aside, the label has something for (nearly) everyone. Huntsville, Alabama's the Snake the Cross the Crown quietly released their first album, Mander Salis, in 2004 on the label, but their indie/alt-country styling should hopefully reach wider audiences with the long-awaited release of Cotton Teeth.

Don't be shocked to see that rectangular logo, by the way, when you look to the back of the jewel case. Most might expect the Saddle Creek piano, as Snake Cross Crown would definitely sound at home amongst the likes of the Good Life and alumnus Rilo Kiley. However, an unusual home hardly hurts the merits of the well-crafted songs at hand here.

Those songs, by the way, range in mood and tempo quite impressively. "Cakewalk" is a minimalist, bare bones opener showcasing Kevin Jones's occasionally lazy affectation, while "The Great American Smokeout" is more sprawling and shuffling. "Gypsy Melodies" is an elaborate, group vocal-sung piece that carefully builds, piling layers of instruments that grow louder and louder through the five-minute song, hitting its peak three-fifths of the way through.

Additionally, Cotton Teeth benefits from a couple moments that seem to directly reference a few other specific acts, and those instants of familiarity are pleasing without feeling derivative. "Hey Jim" feels incredibly similar to Murder by Death's "Until Morale Improves, The Beatings Will Continue" but in the context of Cotton Teeth carries its own identity and provides an unusual snarl the band pulls off sincerely. The album's most epic offering, the seven-minute "Electronic Dream Plant," winds down its free-spirited adventure with layers of vocals, including soothing gospel yelps and chanted "na-na"s in much the same way the Promise Ring's "Say Goodbye Good" finishes its own bold length. Jones seems to channel a little Stephen Malkmus in "Floating in & Out."

Cotton Teeth tends to be easy on the ears with the sporadic heavy moment, but it's a varied pace that works all the same. The Snake the Cross the Crown isn't rewriting everything you know about southern-fried indie pop/rock, but you'll definitely notice a couple revised chapters.

Behold the River

The Great American Smokeout


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
newfoundmichael (March 22, 2007)

I liked this. I hadn't heard anything else by these guys beforehand, but i'll keep a look out for them in the future.

Anonymous (March 22, 2007)

Their older stuff isn't even half of what this is. the e.p. was decent, Mander Salis was good but done before (yes, very jets to brazil at times) - this is in a league of it's own. It's folky/americana-esque but not sufjan stevens, it's got it's indie tinges but it isn't Jimmy Eat World - this is the best thing I've heard so far this year and I'd be surprised if many albums topped it.

-josh voland

piratasmuertas (March 21, 2007)

This is the best record I have heard this year.

Play it all the way through. There are some gems on the end of this record and there isn't a song that I'd even dream of skipping.

Anonymous (March 21, 2007)

"instead I choose ska. I choose ska as my weapon. I sharpened and honed the tip and point of ska? "

Anonymous (March 20, 2007)

liked the first record, though it took me awhile sitting on a shelf before I really liked it. This is good as well, Come September, I'll have actually let it play all the way through and accept my positive opinion of it.


Anonymous (March 20, 2007)

they used to be a SKA BAND anyone remember Curbside Service? i do!

Anonymous (March 20, 2007)

here's a nifty idea,
don't be an asshole!

smart ass.

there is only one clarity, and nothing else sounded like it.

theyounginfluential (March 20, 2007)

did Mander Salis remind anyone else of Jets to Brazil?

Anonymous (March 20, 2007)

here's an novel idea- instead of posting that nifty little anecdote,go buy every record that sounds like 'clarity-esq jimmy eat world' (shit that was like the late 90's son...)
one of the best records of 2007 by far

Anonymous (March 20, 2007)

my band played a show with them around the time they only had an ep and were not signed, and it was in the basement of a taco joint, then i heard they were signed to EVR and about crapped my pants.... and then i ran out to grab the CD and I wondered if it was even the same guys I saw.

What I remember was a very Clarity esq Jimmy Eat World.

and then I got something that was like Mojave3

don't get me wrong, like them both, but i was bummed out.

danperrone (March 20, 2007)

i heard this band's first ep before they signed to evr, and it was totally great indie pop rock stuff


Anonymous (March 20, 2007)

i really liked the first song on their last release (don't remember the title but it had a catchy chorus with gang vocals...) but other than that, this band doesn't really do it for me.

for some reason the vocals remind me of maroon 5. that is never a good thing.

Luzzew (March 20, 2007)

I really like this album, probably the best one I've heard released in 2007 so far...


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