Ottawa’s Bag of Snakes is an angular guitar rock three-piece that skews toward the old time classic guitar rock bands like Cream et al. The trio which consists of Andrew Burns on bass and vocals, David Campbell on guitar and vocals and Alex Wickham on drums and vocals. They have all played in other Ottawa rock bands previously to this outfit, including the pop-noir band The PepTides, which is how the three originally met.
Their first record together as Bag of Snakes, is the ten-song offering also called, you guessed it Bag of Snakes. True to their nature and their influences they base all their songs off some sort of guitar focused rock vibe. They do mix up tempos going from a gallop to a trot at times which helps to keep things at least a little shaken up in the variety department, but over ten songs, if you’re not really into guitar addled dirty blues rock, my guess is your gonna lose interest and find that many of the songs sort of bleed together and its impossible to tell them apart after a while.
However if you are a guitar nerd with a lot of patience for thick rock tunes that sound like they’ve just been dug up out of a ’70s time capsule then your gonna love Bag of Snakes. The album kicks off with the no frills dirty rocker “Bottle of Wine” which sounds a bit like Cream meets Steve Miller Band meets Dire Straits. Next the slow tempo and dirty and chunky riffs and beats on “Tattered Gown” are particularly catchy. Next comes the trippy and more drawn out rock one would expect to have at least one track on a record like this to have in “In Spite of It.”
There are a few classic gems on here too which see the band working together to their fullest capacity. This takes place on the tightly twisted funky jam session “No Free Ride” which sounds again as though it has been aging for nearly forty years and has emerged fresh and new as if it was a forgotten about B-side that now gives a glimpse into the process.
There is included a live version of this which endcaps the record. The sound quality is rather poor but one gets the idea at least that Bag of Snakes is a band best left to the live stage where they are free to experiment with solos and jam out longer than one could possibly want on an album. All in all though fans of guitar focused blues rock will none the less be quite pleased with this Bag of Snakes.
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