The Amazing Snakeheads are roughnecks from the heart of Glasgow, and they’ve been in the studio after hours, recording through the night their debut album, the result is the beautifully titled ‘Amphetamine Ballads’ – a boozy, destructive and incredibly unusual work.
Opening with ‘I’m A Vampire’, there’s a creepy prowess about the raw guitars, leading to that dramatic and uncompromising sound we’re used to. Then Dale Barclay’s voice arrives with the gruff aggression of alcoholisms darkest corner, it’s an exciting and unsettling start. If one things clear though, it’s that these guys are the real deal, having once met the trio at Exchange we can vouch that they are as dark and curious as the sound they give off, albeit at times hard to understand.
This album is happy to stumble at it’s own pace, with moody intervals filled with chiselling guitars, it seems to be constantly building towards a release of utter annoyance, but although on the surface it would sound as if born out of anger and frustration, Barclay claims that he doesn’t know where the music comes from, only that it’s a joy to make.
‘Nighttime’ tells that this record is one to be marvelled at, in a saturated age where there’s so much new music, it’s rare that something truly individual arrives, but the uncouth and detached style of this album says that the Snakeheads have mustered a tidy niche. “I sleep all day to keep the daylight away”, Barclay croons with husky and threatening voice, this is such a distinct sound you can just envisage him swaying around with slick back hair, shooting glances of pure evil.
It’s not all jagged guitars and unorthodox anarchy though, ‘Every Guy Wants To Be Her Baby’ begins with subdued jazz meanderings, and its hushed vocals leave us straining to understand the lyrics, mind you, the thick Glaswegian accent only adds to the hazy enigma of this band. ‘Here It Comes Again’ is also less menacing in the face of the slow skulking ballads, it delivers more of a traditional punk sound, big riffs, fast paced, it’s certainly a welcome diversion.
In essence this is undoubtedly the finest release to have struck my ears so far this year. Hard to pin down, it’s ultimately built on suspense and clearly not trying to impress with any form of melody. The twisted ups and downs of this debut truly form something special and leave us desperate for a live fix.
Check out ‘Here It Comes Again’ right here: