Rock ‘n’ roll obviously comes with constant variety of unique riotous tendencies, and each twist of rock music has a pioneer and driving force which recruits equally impressing cohorts to their direction within the expansive scene. There are few bands though which manages to weave a tapestry from a healthy scoop of all that vast flavouring which is something new and in itself wholly individual. Step forward Welsh rockers Denim Snakes and their debut self-titled album. It roars rock ‘n’ roll with every note, syllable, and second of its resourceful stomp. It makes no demands, has no delusions of grandeur, but instead rampages through ears into the passions with a fresh sound which recalls and revitalises essences which have ignited a million hearts and inspired just as many imaginations.
For a debut the album is irresistibly impressive and striking, though maybe that really should be no surprise as Denim Snakes is led by vocalist/guitarist Russell Toomey. The former frontman of the criminally ignored sonic punks My Red Cell and the inexcusably overlooked garage punks Innercity Pirates, Toomey has a knack of twisting songs into insatiable predators of the psyche whilst leaving a lingering temptation others can only dream of in their music. His new band as evidenced by their first full-length is no different in that ability, songwriting as expressive and intrusively seductive as ever, and an instinctive rock ‘n’ roll ravaging.
Formed in 2013, the Barry quartet of guitarist Jake Ellis-Scott, bassist Matt Clarke, and drummer/backing vocalist Tom Hall alongside Toomey, soon explored and whipped up a sound to ignites ears and imagination, first single 21 earlier this year the proof of something exciting brewing from the depths of the “ghost-town pleasure park” from where he band emerged. It sparked an exploratory interest and appetite for the band which second single The Guard in September soon ignited again. Now the band’s debut album is primed to wake-up the nation and such its potency and sheer thrilling adventure there will be calls of a conspiracy at play if Denim Snakes is allowed to slip away as those previous bands mentioned.
The release opens with The Guard, bulging beats lighting up ears before a raw blaze of riffs and a throaty bassline joins the emerging rugged sonic dance. In no time the song is leading body and emotions on a virulent stroll, Ramones bred hooks and grooves flirting with the passions as the distinctive tones of Toomey’s voice similarly and mischievously colours the contagion. A healthy whiff of garage rock and surf pop is brought into the mix of what is insatiable pop punk of the old school kind, whilst a classic rock spicing clasps the solo and melodic enterprise of the sensational opener.
The band’s first single 21 is next and instantly provides a different creative hue to the release. With a caress of harmonica leading to more melodic scenery vocally and musically, the song sways with folk rock glazed adventure. It is just as catchy as its predecessor, though it has a gentle presence and persuasion which at times is part Weezer and part Late Cambrian, and whilst it does not set a fire in feet and instincts as the previous protagonist, the song emerges as a warm and increasingly tempting offering showing why it made such a strong impression earlier in 2014.
The following It’ll Be Alright also moves with a mellow and breezy charm, though there is a devilry which is never far from its surface. It also finds a forceful prowl in the bass and beats which come more to the fore leading to and in the anthemic chorus, it adding a muscular spirit to another unique slice of melodic pop. In its reserved passages there is a definite Kinks influence which instantly sparks the imagination into greater life whilst it’s punchier exploits rings of Innercity Pirates, though that was always inevitable at some point. It too is a slow burner which grows into something formidable and addictive, the opposite on offer next with Party Hard. This is a song wasting no time in gentle persuasion, instead swiftly gripping ears and thoughts with spicy chords and hungry rhythms before venturing into a hook laden lure of busy riffs and vocal revelry. My Red Cell toxicity teases throughout the song to further colour the fiery rock ‘n’ roll canter, but as across the album though you can pick out similarity of previous exploits, song and album is something openly new.
From the lofty heights of the song, Denim Snakes take another step up in temptation and brilliance with The Runaways. Sinews flex in every aspect of the track from the first breath, riffs imposing and rhythms cantankerous as Turbonegro like punk causticity initially smothers ears. The track is soon exploring its infection drenched melodic side too though, another ridiculously contagious proposition leaping at the passions as riveting twists of guitar and rhythmic endeavour toys with the imagination. A core of hard rock drives the explosively enjoyable encounter, another slither of rock ‘n’ roll variety exploited for something enthrallingly new before the pair of She’s A Woman and Making Money step forward. The first of the two stalks the senses and thoughts straight away, a dark and heavy footed bassline aligned to jabbing beats challenging ears before the effect spiced vocals of Toomey lay their predacious tempting in the web of intrigue. A classic rock breeding smoulders throughout the sultry drama of the song but yet again flavouring is varied and fluid as it almost growls with impressive potency before its successor brings out the big guns in predatory riffs and thumping beats as blues grooving spreads through classic rock devilment. Though not a favourite amongst the pack on the album, the song increasingly convinces and is a sure fire appetite pleaser for fans of bands such as Aerosmith and Alice Cooper.
Don’t You Want Me finds seeds in similar beds but only to lay a canvas for the blues and acidic flames of enterprise erupting over it. Electric Woodland meets My Red Cell meets The Stooges; the track roars and raucously simmers with sonic ingenuity and incendiary expression. It is a fire of anthemic seduction inducing another wave of greedy hunger for the album, which the raunchy tone and energy of Happiness has boiling over with its maelstrom of classic, hard, and punk rock. The song also finds room to drift into a hazy melodic landscape of rock pop, unpredictability as prevalent as imagination and mischief.
Closing with the similarly bred but openly distinct Sex, Denim Snakes has uncaged a slab of rock ‘n’ roll which manages to provide something for everyone in each individual song without leaving one overwhelmed by the intensive brew. The final song is a salacious temptress which simply sums up the whole of the outstanding album. Fans of Russell Toomey’s past works will maybe not be surprised at the craft and invention running over in Denim Snakes but there is no denying the band has tapped into a new depth and maturity in songwriting and sound which is matched by the impressive qualities and imagination of its members. Quite simply it is a must have release for all rock ‘n’ roll fans.
Denim Snakes is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/denim-snakes/id835921265
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