Silver Snakes - Pictures of a Floating World
Record Label: Siren Records
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Silver Snakes are a 90ís-influenced experimental rock band from Los Angeles. Although they havenít existed under their current title for very long now, only since 2010, the framework for the band was already formed as early as 2005 by lead singer Alex Estrada. Because of this, one should expect their debut, Pictures of a Floating World, to pack a lot of punch, as it is the result of a long-held vision by a few seasoned musicians that is finally coming together into a tangible and cohesive product. Not only does it meet those expectations, it crushes them. The band has been very clear in what their ambitions are, so it gives me as the reviewer an easier time determining how successful they were in achieving those ambitions, and how much appeal the album creates along the way. In the bandís own words: ďwe were going for Ö a 90s influenced, raw rock recordĒ but also with ďa freshness and relevance that the worldís ears have been craving.Ē How well have they met their own challenge? Letís find out.
The most astonishing and potentially under-appreciated aspect of Pictures of a Floating World is undoubtedly the innumerable amount of influences woven throughout the record, across all kinds of genres. I spent a good deal of time more than usual taking in this album for this very reason. Unraveling the artistic genius behind the subtleties of this album needs more than just a fine-toothed comb or a magnifying glass. It takes a microscope, and a lot of time. Iíll try to keep descriptions short and to the point, as manifestations of each genre are just as cleverly hidden from the obvious as they are a commonality. In fact, the only real aspect with any kind of open consistency is the albumís hard-hitting riffs and easygoing yet still energetic tempos (going for a 90ís rock influenced album? check that one off the list), acting as the glossy adhesive filling in all the jagged nooks and crannies made from the bits and pieces of the other genres, making for a whimsical, yet well-defined and easily de-constructible album for the observant listener. In the end, what Iíve found (and hopefully what youíll find) in the albumís catacombs is everything from pop-punk to post-rock, from grunge and southern rock to post-hardcore, and from progressive rock to jazz fusion (relevance that the worldís ears have been craving? Check that one off the list too).
The second major point of note about Pictures of a Floating World is how it comes together with a lot of immediate appeal and a fair dose of accessibility to reach a wide range of listeners. The credit for this attribute is shared equally by the albumís fantastic production, as well as the individual musiciansí execution of their respective roles. First and foremost of these is the percussion. Daniel Pouliotís drumming is pushed very intelligently to the front, showcasing its intricacy and adeptly dynamic transitioning between sections, a welcome change in production from the typically drowned-out kits where only the double bass is emphasized or even audible. This affords the album a good amount of strength in dealing the signature punch that rock albums are revered for. This punch is supported, obviously, by the relentlessly pounding and crunchy guitar work of Justin Coates and Alex Estrada. Surprisingly, the bass work of Mike Trujillo carries a lot of character, and actually becomes one of the catchier melodic aspects of the album. Last but not least, lead vocalist Estradaís vocals hammer out the 90ís theme with the bluntly melodic and up-front belting that serves as a constant focal point (freshness? that was pretty refreshing if I do say so myself. 3/3, guys!).
In the end, we have a beautifully crafted album that unfortunately may get lost among its contemporaries. I hope my review puts a dent in the lack of knowledge about Silver Snakes. Pictures of a Floating World is best likened to that highly sophisticated person who hides in plain sight by dressing simply, approaching others with a lot of humility, and by being easily relatable. Should Pictures of a Floating World find you first, donít allow appearances to make you dismiss it as something merely ordinary. Spend some time getting to know it, and it will reveal much more than what first meets the eye.
Hit the nail right on the head with this review. I got this album after reading this and it's amazing!
Definitely hearing the Thrice influences ever so often.
Silver Snakes making me believe good music is making a come back!