02. The Great American Smokeout
03. Gypsy Melodies
04. Cotton Teeth
05. Electronic Dream Plant
06. Behold The River
07. Hey Jim
08. Floating In & Out
10. Back to the Helicopter
2007 Equal Vision Records
Up until this point, I've had relatively little exposure to rock outfit The Snake The Cross The Crown. The few tracks that I had heard, coming from their 2003 debut EP, "Like a Moth Before a Flame," displayed a mature emo-rock sound, but failed to really stand out against the overabundance of bands trying to cash in on that style at the height of its popularity. Now as we fast forward four years to the present day, TSTCTC's release of Cotton Teeth provides undeniable evidence that these guys have grown into amazingly talented song writers and musicians. The emo-rock of the old days has been completely replaced by some of the most elegant and candid folk-rock released in recent years. This album may not have a single damn thing to do with metal or hardcore, but there is no doubt in my mind that many listeners will soon discover the beautiful melodies and soothing tones of Cotton Teeth and whole-heartedly embrace it.
The album begins with the subdued and twangy intro of "Cakewalk" accompanied by the simple lyrics of "I want to live on a stage / I want to play the guitar and I want to get paid / But no responsibilities please / I want to do what I want and I want to get paid." In addition to properly setting the tone of the entire album, "Cakewalk" just radiates sincerity as it provides such a brilliantly simplistic depiction of the love of music. As the album progresses it consistently lives up to the high musical bar set by "Cakewalk," with standout parts such as the infectious up-tempo chorus of "The Great American Smokeout," the explosive and bass driven dynamics of "Hey Jim," and the Hey Jude-esque climax of the disc's mini-epic, "Electronic Dream Plant." What's that you say Comparing an Equal Vision band to the Beatles is unthinkable I guess it's just that good.
The production on Cotton Teeth is also fantastic, as the wide array of instrumentation is captured in perfect form. Layered guitar parts, keyboard melodies, and vocal harmonies are all found to be crystal clear throughout the album. My only real complaint with the album is the somewhat muddled confusion of the closing track, "Back to the Helicopter," where the slight drum and vocal distortion is a bit of an unsuccessful step away from the exceptional sound of the rest of the disc. However, to even entertain the idea that this miniscule aspect has any impact on the rest of the album is absurd. Cotton Teeth is a fantastic album from an extremely skilled group of songwriters that should not go unnoticed.
Bottom Line: Somewhere in between 2003 and now, The Snake The Cross The Crown went through a radical transformation from just another emo-rock band into an absolutely stellar folk-rock group just glowing with sincerity. Cotton Teeth is the perfect soundtrack for those seeking well executed instrumentation, honest song-writing and captivating melodies. It may only be April, but I can guarantee that this album will make its way onto my list of end of the year favorites. Check this out.