The Deadly Snakes are
Age of Danger: Organ, Piano, Percussion, Drums, Voice
Andre Ethier: Guitar, Voice
Andrew Gunn: Drums, Guitar
Chad Ross: Bass, Guitar, Mandolin
Matthew Carlson: Trumpet, Guitar, Bass
Jeremi Madsen: Saxophone, Bass, Guitar, Percussion**
Growing out of the garage? “Well I don't think The Deadly Snakes were ever a typical 'garage' band. There are certainly garage-rock influences in our music. We have always recorded in lo-fidelity compared to the contemporary standard. We are influenced by a lot of the same music that your average 1960's-kitsch-throwback band is. But it seems to me a pretty inaccurate and over simplified description of the group… Of four long players and almost ten years of live shows. It's not as if we've made three records that all sound like the Kingsmen until suddenly we happened upon a dusty old mellotron and a fucking Kurt Weill record. In fact, the funny thing is that EVERY record we've made since Love Undone has been written about as more 'mature' than its previous. Oh well. Porcella is a departure from the garage genre. Maybe even from the last record. But I think we were ill suited in the 'garage' category since we started shaving.“
Just before touring with The Hives in 2004, The Deadly Snakes took off to a remote log cabin in the middle of nowhere Ontario to create their magnum opus “Porcella.” On this, their fourth album, the band's sound is at times dark and desperate, and at others just plain beautiful. This is an album that owes its sound to the Zombies (Odessey & Oracle-era), The Kinks (Village Green-era), Love, Captain
Beefheart, sixties gospel, Nico (Chelsea Girls-era), Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds far more than to garage rock.
"Porcella" is produced by the band's own Age of Danger, and features The Deadly Snakes' first use of a string section (orchestrated by the band), plus plenty of the instrument trading that's become a group tradition. What started off being labeled a garage band has matured into a real "songwriters collective." This time, everyone has a hand in the song writing, with a sober-minded Age of Danger now splitting singing duties with the always soulful Andre Ethier.
It is a bigger record, even orchestral at times. Larger in scale than "Ode to Joy," but "Porcella" doesn't sound overproduced. It's full of great pop songs that are simultaneously strange and dark. Songs like 'Gore Veil' show a new direction for the band, without sounding affected or insincere. It still sounds like The Deadly Snakes, and never forced.
The Deadly Snakes have a way of tricking the listener with pretty sing-along melodies, but behind the happy tunes are some very dark lyrics. There is a dark and recognizable theme on this album, about a temporary existence… about grabbing onto those precious moments and biting into and feasting on them. But even though there’s a good share of melancholy songs on the new album, there are still some blistering studio performances (The Banquet, Sissy Blues, Oh Lord, My Heart!) that will no doubt feed the band's reputation for invigorating live shows.
In addition to a CD release, look for a special edition 20-song double LP, alternately titled "A Bird In The Hand Is Worthless." The sequencing and cover art are completely different from the CD, with a gatefold package. There are seven previously unreleased tracks (five of them brand new) which will not be released in any other format by the band or the label--vinyl only.
Sample "Porcella" lyrics:
"For everyone a Baptist's head, swine and cattle, wine and bread..."
"What a shame there is no cure for a fear of things that die,
for the need to tell a lie, for a dryness in the eye..."
"And with the Lord as my witness, oh it is such a dirty business!
To pull my teeth from your throat, and leave you wanting in hope..."
"Now if I fall beneath your virtue, as you may live now far above your needs,
it's for you to stand on my foundation, all the more grand as I myself recede..."
"Some things are cast off and some things are kept.
A pocket of silver, a lover's caress. There's one thing I've heard
that I'll never forget: A bird in the hand is worthless.”