Premiere: THE SNAKES – ‘SNAKES BDAY’

Words: James Frostick
Art: Eve Dadd + David Forcier

The Snakes have emerged from Melbourne’s swampy morass of punk with a phenomenally catchy interpretation of dissonant sleaze. The group will be putting a mini-LP out in March, but lead single ‘Snakes Bday’ is a perfect introduction to a band that is bringing a distinct edge to the scene.  

Here’s some new noise out of Melbourne for your ears – meet off-kilter punk outfit The Snakes. The five-piece unit – consisting of members Steph Cheeseman, Charlotte Zarb, Jimmy McGarrie, James Dadd and Lewis Hodgson – has only been around for about six months, playing a smattering of shows across Sydney and Melbourne. Despite their newness, the group has put in work towards a self-titled debut mini-LP due out through Anti Fade Records in March.

When it comes to summarising the sound, my usual go-to descriptors are failing me. Words like erratic, whimsical, askew, off-centre, enthralling, entertaining all apply to The Snakes’ brand of crooked punk playfulness, but all terms fall short of the mark. Essentially, The Snakes is five musicians having a crack at creating poppy post-punk bops imbued with a reptilian sleaze and a baseness commonly found in music with more dissonant sensibilities. That’s not to say The Snakes isn’t discordant in it’s own right, but the shrill keys, plodding rhythms and humour-laced vocals make for a completely different listen than your cranked-out guitar-driven scuzz.

The crew has selected the track ‘Snakes Bday’ as the first listen from the mini-LP, and I don’t think there’s a track better suited to be an introductory taster. ‘Snakes Bday’ isn’t as sonically visceral as the other tracks on the record, but it gives a glimpse inside the band’s mentality toward correctness and their place in society. As a collection of fringe-dwelling misfits, the mere appearance of the band is sure to ruffle the manicured feathers of conservatively minded folk. To me, ‘Snakes Bday’ is a commentary on bucking conformity and the way society recoils at the sight of their licentiousness. All of this is buoyed by a rudimentary backing track, but for all of its simplicity ‘Snakes Bday’ is as energising a listen as anything I’ve heard lately. Have a listen for yourself:

The Snakes will be out through Anti Fade Records on March 1.