The Front - Snake Oil Salesman (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Front

Snake Oil Salesman (2009)


The first time I heard of the Front was when they were announced as direct support for an Against Me! show that I had tickets to, but was unable to attend for reasons beyond my control. The Casper, Wyo. quintet's latest offering, Snake Oil Salesman is a slab of energetic punk rock with a rock 'n' roll attitude that wouldn't feel out of place on the Hellcat Records roster.

Anytime a female-fronted punk band with gravelly vocals has emerged in the last few years, the Distillers are the first name that comes up when drawing comparisons, but in this case it's actually pretty accurate, with several tracks, such as "Death Dress" and opener "All Hail," bringing to mind the sounds of Sing Sing Death House. Other tracks suggest a more immediate Horrorpops, if they dropped the horror angle.

Joe Queer produced Snake Oil Salesman, but don't expect anything remotely resembling Ramones-core here. There is a strong Social Distortion-esque rock 'n' roll influence felt throughout the album, as well as some damn near AC/DC-styled guitar solos ("Low Income Love"). These seemingly disparate influences keep Snake Oil Salesman from becoming monotonous, and keep the energy level up throughout.

The Front aren't reinventing any wheels on Snake Oil Salesman, but they do what they do very well. They've been at it for over a decade, and this record is the sound of a well-oiled machine. I regret not being able to make the show that first introduced me to them, because they sound like they would put on a hell of a concert.