These Arms Are Snakes - Oxeneers or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home (Cover Artwork)

These Arms Are Snakes

Oxeneers or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home (2004)

Jade Tree

The majority of the music world was initially exposed to These Arms Are Snakes with the release of their debut EP This Is Meant To Hurt You last year on Jade Tree. That EP, while showing potential, saw the band endlessly compared to an array of their peers, (Namely Jupiter-era Cave In and The Blood Brothers). With the release of this album, TAAS not only successfully move away from such comparisons, but they finally are able to release an album that defines its own style.

"The Shit Sisters" surprises the listener at first, starting off with an almost tuneless drum pattern that continues for about 20 seconds before the guitar comes in. Next, a rumble of bass sounds, and TAAS hits the track running. Fans of a large overall bass sound will be more than pleased, as Brian Cook's distorted bass provides a solid backbone for the intricate guitar lines to lay upon. The organs are used liberally throughout this album, as opposed to the limited appearances they made on This Is Meant To Hurt You. They compliment the vocals and other instruments quite well, and add to the overall thickness of the band's sound.

One thing that has not changed since the EP is these boys' total love for reverb. Both the aforementioned "Shit Sisters" as well as several tracks on the album let the guitars and vocals echo in and out of each other, painting broad audio landscapes.

The only place this album really falters is when the tracks drag on for too long, and when that happens, TAAS seems to fall into a trap of almost pointless electronic noodling. This happens primarily on the mostly instrumental "Gadget Arms" and the organ track "Tracing" which doesn't seem to serve any real purpose either, as it fails to really connect to the next song.

Such errors are forgivable though, as this is only their first attempt at a full length album. The extreme potential of this band just bleeds from every track on this CD, and could quite possibly find a place in the CD collection of all types of music fans. From the near cock rock of "Big News" to the a capella section of "Greetings from the Great North Woods", TAAS have crafted an album that defies genre names and boundaries, and would not be out of place on peoples' top albums of 2004 list.