Paperback Vipers

Woozy-boozy trash-rockers max out on gospel sing-alongs

"Debt Collector" is "Taxman" less clever; "Let It All Go" is "Let It Be" left be, more to the point. I've been on this "Were the Beatles really that important?" riff for a minute, but now I'm wondering if the better question is: Fuck's a deadly snake anyway? The Toronto band always dug swung eighths and gospel choruses and Huey Lewis horns, all curiously tucked into woozy-boozy trash-rock odes to joy. A bad, seedy take on the garage stat quo for sure, but it worked fine, and this time around the Snakes have even fewer racially conflicted hang-ups. "Everything was fire-engine red and all the black guys, they sang," explains lead Deadly Andre Ethier.

When not sing-screaming through organ-driven power ditties ("Sissy Blues"), Ethier keeps his melodies spiritual, range and intervals plebeian, as if to maximize his sing-along. The brass-driven jump blues of "By Morning I'm Gone" could work as the anti-dirge in a New Orleans funeral procession, for sound and spirit. Even the Snakes' more embellished or orchestral numbers (the Waitsy waltz "200 Nautical Miles" has piratic string arrangements; "Gore Veil" has, literally, bells and whistles) are just that, "embellished" or "orchestral." Strip them down and stark come the essentials—never earthshaking, but I'd rather tomorrow know.

Deadly Snakes
photo: Jannie McInnes
Deadly Snakes

The Deadly Snakes play Mercury Lounge December 7.

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