The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads (Domino)

The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads (Domino)

The début album from Glasweigan ruffians, The Amazing Snakeheads, Amphetamine Ballads, released last month, is a raw yet dramatic record that hints at alcoholism and frustration, building on unsettling nuances.

Released under Domino, Amphetamine Ballads, is a visceral, refreshing album from a band I think we have been awaiting for a while; one full of spectacle and dark humour, uncompromising in style and substance.

All hailing from Glasgow the band comprises Dave Barclay (guitar and vocals), William Coombe (bass) and Jordon Hutchison (drums), and would hold a local monthly residency in Broadcast in the city centre hub of Scotland’s music epicentre. Obviously with the recent signing and début album this loyalty has had to subside, with the band presently on tour, with some festival dates coming up such as the elusive dance festival, Secret Garden Party.

As for the subterranean album itself, the band strike an uncouth chord, reminding listeners about the seedy, dimly lit elements of their hometown, and rough serrated edges which comes with being Scottish. With a deeply inset morose timbre this record is precisely a sound which will resonate with the locals, and hold no doubt wider appeal, feeding into a niche that the likes of Tom Waits and perhaps Nirvana were once previously able to please, but also surprisingly for a more cinematically charged audience, for lovers of discord and brass. Documenting lyrically the darker sides to Glasgow that rise from the sandstone, once the sun has gone down, this band could only tenuously be comparable to the likes of John Knox Sex Club, a Glasgow band clad in demonic guitars.

‘Every Guy Wants to Be Her Baby’ begins with an intimation of jazz, with quietened vocals, making it differ a great deal from the majority of tracks on this album, but still retains a defiant aggression, only perhaps with more subtlety, and a tad more diplomacy. Memories’ is also fleshed out with saxophone but still evocatively conveys the vagrants and vagabonds of the city.

Their album title alludes that their style may vary, as one would not expect amphetamines to lend themselves to ballads, and I think this nicely sums up these Scottish musicians. Not only that, it certainly makes me impatiently anticipate the next album succeeding this, as clearly aside from the gruff vocals, and dark undertones, there is no gauging entirely what they will record next.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Amphetamine Ballads was released via Domino Records on 14th April 2014

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