Anyone who has been around the Charlotte, NC scene for many years should be familiar with the work or Aaron Pitkin and Hope Nichols by now. From Fetchin’ Bones, through Sugarsmack and Snagglepuss (which also featured Darrin Grey of It’s Snakes on bass), they have been consistently bringing great music to the local scene for going on forty years now!
It’s Snakes is sort of a natural progression of the music they’ve created over the years… very danceable music that’s a little bit college rock, a little bit classic rock, a bit of the blues, and all with that “punk rock” attitude (though not necessarily a punk rock sound). Hope Nichols truly has one of the most unique voices in all of alternative rock, and it’s a wonder that alone hasn’t brought their projects major success, but they never followed any mainstream trends and have always stuck to doing things their way with excellent results in each band.
For their third album, It’s Snakes brings a sound that’s reminiscent of The Pretenders at times, with a healthy dose of The Rolling Stones’ bluesy swagger, all run through a very true college rock filter, but I can’t think of a single straight comparison for this excellent band. Since getting this record, it has consistently found its way to my turntable more than anything else, and that’s saying a lot (especially considering between my record store rounds, and my thrift store finds, I always have new records to listen to).
A very expertly written and performed album, recorded by Don Dixon and Mitch Easter at Fidelitorium Recordings in Kernersville, NC, and mixed to perfection by Don Dixon at SPA in Canton, OH (also mastered by the always top-notch Dave Harris at Studio B), this album is definitely one of the best sounding albums from the area right now, especially on vinyl!
Hot damn, this sounds great! It’s honestly hard to pick a favorite song on this one, but both tracks that lead off their respective sides (Play Me on side LX, and Snakes With Their Horses on side XL) stick out a little bit, maybe because they only hint at what’s to follow, but have you hooked immediately. I also really dig it when a band pays tribute to earlier songs from their career, and in the song Mystic Mez, Hope once again pleads for the universe to “Bring on the UFO’s”.
The album closer, Endtimes, is a short, upbeat number that has me wanting to dance and also wanting to hear more!
If you’re not familiar with It’s Snakes, dive in here, but also check out their previous releases. You won’t be disappointed!
Check them out below on BandCamp, Facebook and Instagram!