AlbumsNovember 29, 20119,235 views

These Arms Are Snakes Easter

01. Mescaline Eyes 02. Horse Girl MP3 03. Subtle Body 04. Desert Ghost 05. Child Chicken Play 06. Hell's Bank Notes 07. Abracadabraca 08. Deer Lodge 09. Lady North 10. Perpetual Bris 11. Coporeal 12. Crazy Woman Dirty Train
2006 Jade Tree Records
Our score 8

by Cory

These Arms Are Snakes are a good example of what's right with music in 2006. After doing time in a handful of more aggressive acts, the band's members got together in 2003 to play a much more laidback yet still relatively abrasive brand of experimental rock. It might adhere to standard pop song structures, but the instrumentation, recording and lyrics stick only to the band's own formula. Whether blasting out up-tempo rockers like "Horse Girl" or drawn out crawlers like "Corporeal," TAAS possess an energy that draws the audience in and compels one to take the disc in on repeat listens. Their latest full-length, Easter, combines the band's discordant songwriting with engineering prowess and the result merits significant praise. The first thing I'd like to take note of here is the excellent but slightly unusual mix. The disc's drums and bass stand out more than usual, something that can probably be credited to the dual role of Chris Common as drummer and engineer. The strong presence of the rhythm section ensures that the songs never get lost in Ryan Frederiksen's dissonant and "angular" guitar lines. Most of the vocals are layered in reverb and distorted a bit, creating an interesting, consistent sound throughout the record. The band's keyboard lines bear closer resemblance, for the most part, to the bass lines, another unsurprising fact since bassist Brian Cook also pulls double duty as the band's keyboardist. If there is a comparison to be made here, it's potentially to similarly minded post-whatever act At The Drive In. However, where their leaning towards the progressive side of things ultimately led to their demise, These Arms Are Snakes have managed to incorporate prog-rock stylings magnificently on Easter. For instance, in "Subtle Body," the song is almost entirely led by the bass, with the guitars serving as more of an accent than a structural element. The loudness of the bass throughout almost reminded me of the mix on Rush albums at times, but I wouldn't say the two bands really bear any resemblance. More often than not it seems to be a case of understanding what's best for the song and the album as opposed to letting your creativity run completely unchecked. Oddly, the one area where this isn't reflected is in the band's artwork and lyrics which fly way off the deep end in terms of artistic freedom. "Child Chicken Play" falls in between the two interludes "Desert Ghost" and "Hell's Bank Notes" and serves as the album's centerpiece. Built pretty much entirely around two complementary but opposite riffs, the song seems to creat cacophony out of sheer will. A similar theme recurs moments later in "Abracadabraca," both musically and stylistically. Underneath all the noise and effects, lie simple yet effective song ideas trying not to be discovered. I think that's what excites me so much about These Arms Are Snakes is that they manage to put pieces of familiar things together into unusual and unheard configurations. "Perpetual Bris" is a simple acoustic ballad that suggests "if (Thomas) had his doubts, then perhaps you should too." It's not as though the song's two chords haven't been combined before, but there's just something about the way these guys do what they do that makes everything old new again. Bottom Line: Easter is perhaps the gloomiest set of recordings ever connected with the Christian holiday, a time that is intended to celebrate new life. Oddly though, it seems as though These Arms Are Snakes are above the sort of cynicism or irony that one might connect with the conflict between the album's name and its content. Rather, they're trying to make entirely new connections, ones that are more relevant to the present than the past and their music reflects that perfectly. Easter is a musically rich exploration of all things bleak and dismal.


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wEIGhtsFoOtballandsex_ 10/11/2006 10:26:36 PM

cory: you are like the brett the hitman hart of lambgoat... exceot youre THE BIGGEST gay THERE IS, WAS, AND EVER WILL BE. (lOose unit bro!!!!!! mutiny 9/10!!!!!!)

baobab_ 10/11/2006 10:40:24 PM

f*cking great album.

Michael_ 10/11/2006 11:05:05 PM

Great album, though I like the previous LP better.

surfjam_ 10/12/2006 1:42:57 AM

good review

cuntoxfuck_ 10/12/2006 3:09:29 AM

one of the few reviews written by this schmuck that i can actually agree with. i've been listening to this thing for over a month now and am still to grow tired of it. great f*cken album, though oxeneers is probably stronger overall.

Konstrix_ 10/12/2006 7:52:11 AM

These Arms Are Snacks

Aaron_ 10/12/2006 8:32:20 AM

I will probably pick this up, I have heard two songs and they sound good. Oxeneers was a fantastic record, so I don't think they could have done much wrong on this one. Hoping to catch them in Orlando on this tour.

basdfgh_ 10/12/2006 9:12:30 AM

crappy ass shit

anonymous 10/12/2006 9:12:49 AM

lambgoats a bunch of gays with sticks up there asses

Rick_Rueben_ 10/12/2006 9:14:01 AM

This is better than Oxeneers, and I loved Oxeneers. This album creates an atmosphere for the listener better than Oxeneers. So much more put into this album.

truthsayer_ 10/12/2006 11:16:41 AM

You kind of lost me there at the end, but I'm definitely interested in checking this record out. Good review.

andrea_ 10/12/2006 11:40:53 AM

amazing album!

girls who run_ 10/12/2006 11:51:08 AM

blood mountain

Nowonmai_ 10/12/2006 12:00:36 PM

For whatever reason I haven't checked this band out but I'll get my chance because they're playing with Mouth of the Architect bitches.

wolfpack_ 10/12/2006 12:24:56 PM


dogslayeggs_ 10/12/2006 5:16:09 PM

TAAS is one of my favorite bands at the moment. great review... thanks, cory.

salvarsan_ 10/12/2006 5:56:55 PM

solid review, awesome album.

wat_ 10/12/2006 10:41:58 PM

wow they guys suck balls

IAMIRAQY_ 10/12/2006 10:42:47 PM

DOWN WITH AMERICA.... listen to the song Rio Grande Blood by Ministry and u will all know!

wtf?_ 10/12/2006 11:15:36 PM

who listens to this shit?

honestly_ 10/13/2006 10:27:33 AM

i agree with wtf.. this is some of the worst music i have ever heard ... f*ck this shit

panzer_ 10/13/2006 10:03:05 PM

Great band, great album, wierd guys.

p_ 10/14/2006 10:46:33 AM

f*ck the east coast. once again, it is empirically proven that the pacific northwest owns the whole lot of you.

timmytimmylowlow_ 10/14/2006 7:01:26 PM

these arms are snakes f*cking suck so bad. i hope this whole lame HHLL/taas type garbage dies soon.

anonymous 10/15/2006 8:22:45 PM

f*cking DIE .. SHIT

fdf_ 10/15/2006 8:23:06 PM

god damn my balls are so very itchy

snails_ 10/18/2006 1:54:41 PM


Ralphio_ 10/20/2006 12:56:59 PM

I blast this out of the car windown when Im cruising Wal-Mart