"Above Snakes" (A Diamond Heart Production; 2016)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

When they're not pouring their heart out in a slow, emotion-packed ballad, as they do in "Every Time I Use You," San Francisco's Down and Outlaws have the gritty edge of the early Alice Cooper and the Rolling Stones. Actually, now that I think about it, even "Every Time I Use You" has its share of grit and that rough edge is what makes "Above Snakes" so much fun to listen to.

Everything about this album is raw and pure and honest. From the irresistible raspy lead vocals to the fuzzy, distorted guitars to the swagger and punch of each track,  "Above Snakes" grabs you from the get-go, even when it slows way down (as it does on the above-mentioned "Every Time I Use You").

It's not heavy, but it's hard in a classic rock kind of way. You can hear influences of all kinds here, again with the Rolling Stones and Alice Cooper, The Doors and Jefferson Airplane. But it's that modern edginess and emotional honesty that makes "Above Snakes" so damn listenable.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2016 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06 Oct 2019 11:50:29 -0400 .