Snakecharmer Album Review


Chris Ousey – vocals – image by Neil Mach

Originally founded in 2011 by former members of WhitesnakeSnakecharmer is a super-group that is made up from some of the best musicians in this country – Micky Moody and Neil Murray (Whitesnake), Laurie Wisefield (Wishbone Ash), Harry James (Thunder), Adam Wakeman (Ozzy Osbourne) and Chris Ousey (Heartland.)

The band have now issued their self-titled début album – released on Frontiers Records and recorded at Liscombe Park Studios. We had a listen:

Melodic ‘My Angel‘ begins with a voice that is irresistibly tense – fanned out against some skilful acoustic guitar – but soon the sounds chug in and we are greeted by a very pleasant “You’re my Angel…” sing-along chorus. During the bridge, the Wakeman keyboards glide like butter into the folds of the song – and then a magnificent guitar solo oozes out – followed by another burst of sparkling sound. This is a wonderful track.

Accident Prone’ steps along stridently, with plenty of honeydew organ and lustrous grinding guitars. It actually sounds like a Terry Britten number (but written by Wisefield and Ousey ) and is a song about shaking the blues away … it is dramatic, impulsive and full of irresistible momentum.

To The Rescue’ simmers like a steaming jambalaya – the sweet notes of organ wisp around the heart-rending voices – the pulsating riffs stabilise gradually and, soon enough, you’ll be boogying to the beat.

Blues-based ‘Falling Leaves’ is full of intrigue. A golden guitar decorates the darkness, as the suffering voice of Ousey bleats out in futile desperation. This song will capture your heart. And trammel it like a cheap sponge.

A Little Rock & Roll’ sounds like something that 1970’s Zeppelin has been grappling with. And‘Smoking Gun’ really reminded us of something by the British progressive rock act Warhorse (the Ashley Holt incarnation) … it will tingle the toes of any Wakeman fans out there – and it’s our favourite track on the album. It’s deeply soulful, full of lively rhythms, and it flaunts a melody-line that is as exorbitant as it is completely addictive.

But I can imagine that most people will choose ‘Stand Up’ as their favourite track on this convincing album. This James/Ousey number is like all your best 1980’s moments rolled into one. It is wildly poetic, and is full of wild-hot, sky-high guitars that fly up to temporarily dazzle you. It’s perfect stuff!

snakecharmer shortWith a twanging intro that reflects the words, the next song ‘Guilty As Charged’ is about confessing to mistakes and purifying oneself through open-armed admission. The guitar solo twists like a spinning top halfway through this heart-aching song … but you will feel gladdened by the encouraging rhythms and the confident attitude of the pace.

The album ends with the catchy ‘Cover Me In You’ – this is a joyful, soulful number – and it shines with high quality, multi-layered musicality.

If there can be any criticism – any at all – it could be that some of the songs on this thorougly enjoyable album are perhaps a little too ‘radio-friendly and ‘commercial’ for the tastes of some young music lovers out there … some of the songs are clearly written for the benefit of a past generation of rockers who still want to live their best years. But what’s the harm in that?

But the quality and competence here is undeniable. And anyone with a beating heart and a brain in their skull will find something here that can be rapturously enjoyed and emphatically celebrated.

– © Neil_Mach January 20134 –


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