There is a particular emotion each time we listen to a new album from a band that has spent so much time in silence. Jericho Sirens, the fourth and latest LP by Hot Snakes, arrives fourteen years after their previous release. And as only the exceptional records can do, the new album looks so well done and vigorous that it has really the potential to excite both the old fans of the Californian band and also those younger listeners who approached since only a few years the scratchy sounds of indie rock and post-hardcore.
The line-up of the band is basically the same of their early works, and this for sure helps. But what’s remained unchanged, above every other thing, is the rebellious spirit and the musical creativity. To some extent one could feel that all the time which has passed between the two last records has passed – musically speaking – in a flash. But this is not the case, and in fact the songs in Jerico Sirens exude all the effort and committment that the band has dedicated to the album. Nothing here is approximate and we’re far from a purely commercial operation. You really feel the genuine desire to switch on again the spark that illuminated the rock scene during a few but intense years at the beginning of the new century.
The sound that is emanated in the ten new tracks of Jericho Sirens is strongly based on that intriguing mix of garage rock and hardcore that the band consolidated with their first three albums. The rhythm is always sustained, John Reis and Rick Froberg hit hard on their guitars from the first to the last minute of the album. The energy however, hits you in a surgical way: all the instruments play strong and compact, the energy is directed in one single direction, and the balance between dissonances and melodies reaches in some passages the absolute perfection.
The tones are generally polemical and negative, the guys from San Diego are not here to tell us that life is easy and beautiful. But what we hear is not a cry of abandonment and despair, it is rather a scream of rage and disgust towards mediocrity, something that pushes you to react rather than to give up. And this is perhaps the secret of the music of Hot Snakes: the ability to combine a genuine protest towards the system with a sharp, essential and effective musical assault which doesn’t disperse any beat with unnecessary nuances.
Jericho Sirens was released on March 16th by Sub Pop. The album can be acquired on bandcamp and it’s also available for streaming on Spotify.