Album Review: The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads
Glasgow trio The Amazing Snakeheads are said to be turning heads in their hometown, their shows filled with the electricity they conduct from the stage that has their audience walking away awestruck. The band (Dale Barclay, William Cloome & Jordon Hutchinson) have unleashed their debut album, Amphetamine Ballads, said to have captured the same energy channelled by the boys whilst playing live. This is a glimpse into the garage rock ‘n’ roll world that The Amazing Snakeheads are renowned for.
A longwinded resonation of a gong and some guitars lead into opener I Am A Vampire; you would believe it from the title too, it is pretty scary where this song goes in terms of what kind of noise is going on and what they are trying to achieve vocally. When the LP makes the transition to Night Time it seemed promising, to begin with you could almost say there was an element of swing, only to be interrupted by the heavier side of garage rock; easier to listen to than its predecessor, so there’s a plus. Swamp Song started off pretty low key as well, but during the verse we seemed to have lost some of the vocal quality and some words are cut off by the noise, which must have been noticed as Dale felt the need to shout over it in the end. Single Here It Comes Again is so repetitive, ironic really as the same words were belted and identical chords were strummed again and again.
A recurring theme in each song involves starting off with a down key introduction which leads into a heavier atmosphere, which makes Flatlining slightly but not so different; loud and in your face vocals are still present, but this song has a little more structure it seems. Where Is My Knife is the first song on the album to actually begin with a guitar riff and grow quieter in the verse, however it is back to the original formula with Every Guy Wants To Be Her Baby as we sit through another quiet intro with…a saxophone…and almost spoken vocals; the guys go temporarily out of character for approximately four minutes of the song, but they return with a vengeance as loud as ever. More close to spoken word action going on in Memories until, again, the track evolves. Heading For Heartbreak consists of more toned down vocals in the beginning, yet this track is dominated by instruments later met with the tiresome vocals. To finish the album off, Tiger By The Tail is yet another track to go off to a quiet start and stays consistently so, Dale’s voice suits this style of track and Amphetamine Ballads could have done with more songs with similar quality.
Amphetamine Ballads is not the best debut album to come from a band of The Amazing Snakeheads’ calibre. Their live shows have been raved about, and this album was said to capture the same experience as seeing them perform; does that mean we would feel as if we were being yelled at whilst seeing them? There are bound to be fans of this particular genre who will adore this album and take any negative review to heart, as would the band, but this album seemed to lack that special something. At times it could be described as noise with intervals of music that poked its head out from the abyss for a short period of time, only to then dive back down until it’s out of range. There’s no such thing as an unlistenable album however, but each to their own, we will all have different listening experiences depending on the album; Amphetamine Ballads is a good example and there are bound to be mixed reviews out there.