Released by: Diamond Heart
Release date: Out now
1. Roll That Stone
2. I Don’t Care (I Don’t Care)
3. Lay Me Down
6. Way She Roles
7. Don’t Call My Name
8. Backwards from the Dead
10. Every Time I Use You
Formed in 2012 and hailing from San Francisco, USA “Above Snakes” is Down and Outlaws debut album. The four-piece band recorded “Above Snakes” in a marathon week long session at Studio 66. “Above Snakes” is a classic foot stomping rock album. With influences from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Tom Petty to name but a few, it is clear that Down and Outlaws debut strives to channel the spirits of rock and roll history.
With the influences of the bands above flowing through “Above Snakes” it would be easy to assume that all the tracks would merge into one, generic, rock and roll noise. Thankfully this assumption would be incorrect, yes, the influences are clear to hear, but no two songs are the same, and all are distinct from each other.
The album opens with “Roll That Stone”, which sets the tempo for the album, pleasantly unpolished; brash; but accessible rock music that is best listened to loud. In “I Don’t Care,” Peter Danzig proclaims: “I’m a sickness/ I’m a cheat/ I don’t care if I feel a thing.” And the whole band joins in to scream the title line with an urgency that proves just the opposite. “Fever” is by far my favourite song on the album, with its upbeat tempo and head nodding beat, but with deep, yet singalong able lyrics, that you can’t help but to join in with the band during the chorus. “Don’t call my Name” conjures up images of driving along a wide open American highway, in a convertible with the wind rushing through your hair, it’s that kind of rock and roll driving song, with an appropriately place guitar solo suitable for air guitaring to (in the passenger seat of course).
At 4:18 “Backwards from the Dead” is the longest track on the album, but also one of the catchiest, although with possibly the darkest lyrics on this album. The final track on “Above Snakes”, “Every Time I Use You”, slows everything down, with its acoustic, Bob Dylan’esc, folk feel it rounds off the album nicely.
Throughout this album I found myself either foot tapping or head nodding. Down and Outlaws are by no way breaking new ground with “Above Snakes” (which incidentally is an old west term meaning “still alive”) but as a solid rock and roll album it ticks all the right boxes, and even after several listening’s through I found that it was indeed “still alive” in my current playlist.
If you have a spare 40 minutes, and want some music that may be able to help you escape from things dragging you down, give “Above Snakes” a listen.
Review: Kalli Isbourne