These Arms Are Snakes, Oxeneers or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home

Trevor Kelley

By Trevor Kelley

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Rising from the ashes of underground luminaries Botch and Kill Sadie, These Arms Are Snakes formed the year that punk broke — again — in 2002. The Seattle upstarts 'first, rushed EP, This Is Meant to Hurt You, defiantly staked out a position as the edgier antidote to bands like Thursday and the Used, who had just begun to take poetic screaming and whiplash dynamics to demographics that had previously seemed untouchable. Then the unbelievably complex (right down to the title) Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home completely ripped up the script. The big bang of basement skronk that explodes at the album's onset eventually coalesces into bits of fearless post-punk, avant-grunge and heady new-wave surrealism, all while pint-sized singer Steve Sneer bellows paradoxical lyrics that are equal parts Captain Beefheart and At the Drive-In. It's often hard to believe that this band actually sparked a major label bidding war, but These Arms Are Snakes 'debut full-length is a bizarre and captivating display of self-confrontation. And even if it did push the band's reputation from buzzed-about to bewilderment, hell, who couldn't admire their audacity?