Psych-Blues Outfit Chicken Snake Howl with ‘Shapeshifter’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Catching a listener’s attention isn’t an easy chore simply because so many bands exist. One thing a band can do to catch the attention, even before the listener hears a note of their music, is to have a description that is more descriptive than “alternative”. Chicken Snake’s music is described as southern voodoo-psych blues, which is more than enough to pique one’s curiosity.

On their new album Shapeshifter, Chicken Snake takes the listener on a sonic journey with themes including graveyards, ghosts, and the Devil, which seem better suited for a release around Halloween.

You can hear the blues immediately in the slide guitar and harmonica of the first track “Bring down the Rain”. This song features less of a psychedelic vibe and more of a garage rock feel with the dirty, distorted guitar tone and the primitive beat that gets your foot tapping. That is followed by the title track. This one has the fuzzy blues groove and harmonica that you can hear in pretty much every Five Horse Johnson song.

The psychedelic aspect of this band can be heard in the guitar of “Preacher Man” The guitar tone in this song is still that dingy sound of a garage-punk band, but the psychedelic aspect comes from the extended notes throughout the melody. There is also some southern boogie rock on this album. The guitar in “Cold Night for Alligators” might remind you of some of your favorite 70s rock bands.

Southern voodoo-psych blues is an accurate description, but even that isn’t all encompassing. The band also includes healthy doses of fuzzed-out stoner rock and rhythms that can get you to boogie no matter where you are. On top of that, the themes are similar to what you might find on a psychobilly album. Come to think of it, the addition of an upright bass to this band would be pretty interesting. This album is best played at a volume that might get your neighbors to knock on your door and ask you to turn it down. 

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