Review Summary: i wanna live on a stage; i wanna play the guitar; and i wanna get paid, but no repsonsibilities please; i wanna do what i want and i wanna get paid
There is something so mesmerizing about The Snake The Cross The Crown's sophomore effort Cotton Teeth
, an album with a resolute ability to transport you off to a dreamy field of tall grass and dandelions teasing your skin along the soft breeze in tow; all the while you sway yourself to sleep in the most comfortable hammock you could imagine. Everything is in its right place. It’s an immediate transportation as well as the first sounds of strings elegantly plucked bring a warm joy to the ears. You're in for a treat. The music is elegantly simple; brisk camp sing-a-longs molded around somber piano keys and subtle touches of drums - plus! - acoustics. The concept is slightly more bare, but dammit if this culmination doesn't result to the fullest forty minutes of country soul; mostly because Cotton Teeth
is sincere and fulfilling while being an easy load. Check your thought provoking lyrics at the door - while you're at it leave it open cause the breeze feels great.
Trying to conjure up the perfect description for the bands root sound is a rather pointless task as a slight misnomer would develop - no matter the label. Yeah, they sing about the weather, gypsies, horsy's, and occasionally do the banjo thing but that's beside the point. These things are the catalysts for the band to unleash feel good music in whatever form they deem necessary; these occurrences take form through taut vocal melodies coupled with soft musical passages and/or beefy blues tethered with a twang that elevates the bands soul. But a majority of this description explains only half the fun. The hooks! They're endless and infectiously catchy; employing the help of choirs and a majority of the bands members Cotton Teeth
situates itself against pop without crossing any barriers, and it's because of this line treading that The Snake The Cross The Crown can sing about the whatever the hell they want to however the hell they want to. Seriously though. How the album begins is not how it ends, and yet, it's transition from opener "Cakewalk" to closer "Back To the Helicopter" is, without a doubt, a natural progression in sound for the album and aids the listening experience tenfold. Let me explain...
We start with a man singing about, what we can only assume are his truest dreams; being glorified at all times for what he truly loves, and what he truly loves is music - go figure. He wants to play the guitar, and
be paid for his work, and let's be honest, this is a fine vision because we all need a living. Points for realism. From there unravels a man’s stories so at peace with life that they're, in simpler terms, enviable. He has friends: Jim, John, Jacky, and, of course, Suzy Q. They do things. Like swimming at rivers, riding horsy's, laying in the fields, and going to hospitals, and at the end of the day, despite the fantasy they conjure for us, they leave on a relatable note. So, after making those wish we had their life they in turn make the realization we already own it. "Ok but what truly makes this album different"?
Glad you asked. I was once read that an albums brilliance stimulated from its coagulatory experience; except in that album the later songs eventually brought a theme to light. However, with Cotton Teeth
the theme is how different aspects of life bring the end result together. In other words, the album flows but nothing is truly connected. Thank God. This gives The Snake The Cross The Crown ample room to truly deviate and devastate any genre they so desire. Whether that be blues, folk, or simply rock their effortless melding of each style compliments the aspirations derived. Screw pretentiousness, this band is the real deal when it comes to exploration. Dark and moody tracks that feature cryptic lyrics, "Hey Jim", fit so well alongside more traditional radio hits like "Gypsy Melodies" that the band should be arrested. In addition to the genre splicing nothing, and I truly mean nothing, feels forced. Post rock; post pop; post country; lots of "post", which you'll think ludicrous, until you here the inventiveness of a track like "Electronic Dream Machine", which in the end helps explains the greatest facet of Cotton Teeth
This one of those albums that has a lil' something for everyone; because of its lack of complexity It sits so easy on the ears. Biding its time to expose it's nuances - songs don't transform among its listeners immediately, ironic, but the definition of a simple experience. Everything is perfectly crafted for those final days of summer where the world feels at end and hides its beauty in the understanding. There's no need to search for its grandeur meaning. Simply listen. Enjoy the soundtrack to those experiences, and indulge in something that defies the confines of what a southern folk band can emulate.