QÚETZAL SNÅKES are a quintet out of Marseilles, France, who recently made their spacey, psych-driven debut with a six-song EP, out now on Howlin Banana Records and Retard Records in France.
In other contexts, five instruments could easily sound crowded, but Qúetzal Snåkes avoid that pitfall. The band packs drums, bass, and three guitars, one of which (judging by live pics) is a 12-string. In spite of all that equipment, their EP, Lovely Sort Of Death, never sounds busy. They’ve got an excellent grip on how to apply their sounds tastefully.
If anything, their songs have a subtlety at their core that makes them interesting to listen to. There’s plenty of guitar interplay and rhythmic dynamic, but there’s never a lack of headroom.
The title track flips between reverb-heavy vocal chants and blues-influenced guitar riffing in a call-and-response fashion, leaving lots to pay attention to but never overwhelming you with pointless layering or hot-dogging. “I Trip Through Love” plays out like that, too. It slides in slowly with a quiet soundscape, then kicks into a restrained groove decorated with shimmering guitars and droning vocal lines. “Oh Lord Of Deafstruction” follows a similar pattern, holding onto a contained beat and chord progression that only pops for a couple brief, overdriven and totally satisfying guitar solos. Other tracks including “Cosmic” and “I Love You” are poppier and less experimental, cruising gently between verses and choruses with occasional waves of guitar and rhythmic builds.
“WET,” the final track, is where Qúetzal Snåkes find themselves at their most unhinged. It’s a creepy, mid-tempo number that’s darker than anything that precedes it. The singer groans low, almost indiscernible lines under a droning drum and bass and some distinctly surf-y guitars. Tension builds until about two-thirds of the way through, when the song explodes in a wave of noise and howling vocals. After 20 minutes of fairly sweet, almost beachy music, it leaves you bummed that it had to end there.
My Rating: SS
Genre/ Tags: Psychedelic, Blues Rock, Experimental
Lovely Sort of Death 12″ EP: Tracklist:
1.) Lovely Sort of Death
2.) Oh Lord of Deafstruction
4.) I Trip Through Love
5.) I Love You