Rediscover is a series of reviews highlighting past releases that have flown under the radar and now deserve a second look.
It’s been just over two years since The Deadly Snakes decided to disband, leaving behind a decade of music to pursue other interests. Arguably, there are other albums from their catalog that deserve another listen, such as Ode to Joy or Love Undone, but the most painfully underrated album is unquestionably Porcella. A combo of seemingly ridiculous songs and darkly sarcastic juxtapositions of lighthearted melodies with evil lyrics blend Porcella into a masterpiece. It’s a whiskey-induced ballad that will make you want to do as “A Bird In The Hand Is Worthless” says and “Drink so much I’d speak in tongues / ‘Till everything went black.”
The decision to take Porcella off the dusty shelves of some record store is a serious one even for the most sagacious listener. For starters, you’d have to deviate from the path of shitty hipster beats and iMac rock. When the rest of the world – besides In the Red Records and a few other labels – was getting back into beat machines, the six members of The Deadly Snakes were still kicking up dirt in Toronto, writing songs that seemed to come from their own religion: Southern Baptist Sadistics. Vocalists Andre Ethier (pronounced Eh-Tee-Air) and Age of Danger (Max McCabe-Lokos) form an instant dynamic of peculiarity. The duo has a writing style that comes out like Gaspar Noé and Wes Anderson having coffee together. Their songs are twisted and murky with the occasional cute melody in the background. And that’s just one style.
One of the reasons the album goes down as one of my all time favorites is due to its complication. They pack into their album blues, jazz, rock, soul, country and Neil Diamond. Not kidding. “Gore Veil” is right out of Hot August Night. It has a song for every mood, as long your moods are all sadistic. Besides “I Heard Your Voice,” the only song that passes as genuinely earnest, the other 12 cuts are jammed full of dark humor. “Let It All Go” hails “Jesus loves me / But my car won’t go / And the rain won’t stop.” Or from the Vinyl addition, which comes with seven extra tracks, including the jam of the album, “She’s Going Home With Him,” we get the lyrics of a pathological murderer as he sings “I’ve got no sympathy / I’ll murder the dog and kill the puppy.”
Porcella is as haunting as it is enjoyable. You get sucked into the happy melodies and catchy riffs before you realize you’re singing along to lyrics like, “What am I for / If not to paint the walls with blood.” But it’s not all horror 2005: sometimes Ethier and Age of Danger slide back into the gospel-style country with songs like “So Young, and So Cruel” and puts the boots back on the album.
If you really want to get your ass kicked while grinning the whole way, the vinyl addition is a must-have. But if you still need to hear more after you’ve fallen in love with The Deadly Snakes you can turn to more In The Red Records inspirations or to Andre Ethier, the only member to turn solo, with three pretty damn good albums.
by Edmond Stansberry
[Photo Credit: Carrie Musgrave]