ARTIST: THE AMAZING SNAKEHEADS
ALBUM: AMPHETAMINE BALLADS
LABEL (YEAR): DOMINO RECORDS (2014)
FOR FANS OF: THE CRAMPS, FAT WHITE FAMILY
Words by Lexy Morvaridi
Sometimes, you hear something that immediately stops you in your tracks and makes you turn around and say, “who the fuck is this?” When I first heard the snarl of Dale Barclay, that is exactly what I said. His guttural, throaty vocals are doused in a whisky-soaked Glaswegian accent and it’s what makes The Amazing Snakeheads’ debut and only record, Amphetamine Ballads, truly stand out.
The slow and tense opener ‘I’m A Vampire’ swings as it builds towards a massive release of distorted guitars, while the vocals slaughter the track relentlessly with lines like “she’s more beautiful than any girl I’ve ever met… and she fucking knows it”. Throughout the record there’s a bluesy, jazzy groove, decorated with wild reverberated saxophone and a decaying sense of despair, driven by the release of angry postulations. The sped up post-punk thump of ‘Here It Comes Again’ falls away into a garage rock riff that, combined together, sounds like nothing else yet familiar all at the same time. Where the record really shines is ‘Everybody Wants To Be Her Baby’, which opens with a sinister and gradually building bassline, while a sax delicately tiptoes around the vocal melody – the whole thing wouldn’t go amiss in Twin Peaks.
If you’re sick of the safe, soft sound that has spread like a disease throughout indie guitar music, then douse yourself in liquor and set yourself alight with this incredible debut. These guys are horrible bastards but that’s what makes them great – not for the fainthearted.