Fear Snakeface’s MySpace page describes this album as“19 years of songwriting, reduced to 15 tracks,” but you wouldn’t know it from listening to it. The self-titled debut from the local duo certainly shows no indication of having been meticulously pored over for more than a decade, Chinese Democracy style. That’s not an insult, but the most obvious influence here is lo-fi slacker rock that peaked creatively, well, just about 19 years ago, a movement famous for its slapped-together, genius-by-accident approach.
Opener “Houston Trip” sounds appropriately ramshackle — Phillip Luna’s buzzing bassline and clap-along drumbeat are a perfect fit for Sid St. Onge’s lyrics about loading the dogs in a car for a drive up I-10. The constantly on the verge of imploding southern-rock riff “Please Return” leaves the subject “dead on the floor, you can’t come back no more,” and the narrator hanging from the gallows, but “This Year of Hope” is maybe the most optimistic auld lang syne since the Zombies. After an opening filled with twittering birds, St. Onge dismisses an overcast January 1 and news of Somalian pirates and Middle Eastern warfare with “I love my life, my soon to be wife ... I want to cry/ Tears of joy.” Sounds like the years have been pretty good to these guys.