Hot Snakes - Suicide Invoice (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Hot Snakes

Suicide Invoice (2002)


I catch a lot of flak on this site for giving all the "popular" releases low scores. People call me an elitist, a scenester, a prick. They say that I praise unknown bands and shun big name bands. They say that I'm a hype machine for whatever Buddyhead declares as cool.

Not this time.

"Suicide Invoice" is the new release from the Hot Snakes, and it bores the shit out of me.

Hot Snakes is the brainchild of Rocket From The Crypt's John Reis, and features current/ex members of Drive Like Jehu, The Delta 72, and a host of other barely known yet highly acclaimed groups. This is their second album. They have been hyped again and again in indie rock circles.

Hype is a dangerous thing.

This album is 12 tracks and roughly 33 minutes of boring, repetitive garage sounding post rock with a rock and roll edge. Singer Rick Farr's vocals [of DLJ, Pitchfork] sound completely monotone, and are at more of a high pitched yelp than anything else. I've listened to this album dozens of times, and only two tracks stay in my mind: one, the annoying "LAX" - the music isn't bad at all, but Rick's voice really just ruins it as he yells "LAX, LA, LA" repeatedly in the chorus. The other track, and the only one that I consider a gem, is the title track. It's probably the strongest track melodically, reminding me of the recent Engine Down album, with Farr wailing "and when I drink / I keep my promises to you / I really do / A suicide invoice." He sounds convincing and sincere, and it takes the song to another level that unfortunately the other 11 tracks do not reach at all.

I hear a lot of promise in this group. I can't believe that people are giving them all this hype - the Strokes were worth more buzz than this. This is a decent album, but nothing more - I can't really recommend this to anyone, unless you're already a fan or you're a fan of the ex member's bands.