January 12, 2009

The Snake Charmers – Been Gone Too Long

The Snake Charmers
Been Gone Too Long
Skunk Eye; 2009

Been Gone Too Long

If there’s one thing that blues and punk have in common, it’s that they laud dirty, scrappy outfits that perform with immense heart and dedication. And in a world where Pro Tools and AutoTune have become de rigueur production devices, there’s never been a better time for organic performance values to make their way back into the studio. There will always be room at the musical table for bands whose primary priority is to write songs that they love and love to play at the expense of adhering to some predisposed trend.

Thus, the “charm” of The Snake Charmers is a pronounced, fun-loving DIY ethos, a spirit that permeates Been Gone Too Long. Together since 2002, this Houston, TX-based quartet excels when matching the smoky voice of Marie Angell and her playfully risqué lyrics with standard blues patterns, as best evinced on “I Wanna Do Right,” “Move On Blues,” and “(I Wanna Be A) Hoochie Mama.” However, on tracks like “No Mercy” and “Half A Cup,” which explore the world outside the 12-bar format, the band sounds like they’re struggling. Hopefully, with future releases, this group will find a way to firm up their overall sound while maintaining their engaging, high-spirited attitude. There are more than a few acts out there who would do well to follow the raw, natural example set by The Snake Charmers.

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