originally written by Jim Brandon
Formed way back in 1992 by Marty Dodson, Matt Lynch, and Mark Johnson (Plugusher/Blessing The Hogs/The Crucified), Seattle, Washington’s Snail have reunited after dealing with a bunch of regular human drama that put a halt to the band for many years. Now refreshed, and reenergized with Eric Clausen on second guitar, this current reincarnation have reached back into their baggie of tricks and harvested a handful of fuzzy, sticky musical buds that blend an almost foolproof mix of big stonerized riffs, 70’s psychedelics, and occasionally hefty distortion into a well-assembled hour+ of “psychedoom” or something along those lines. I didn’t coin the term, but it fits pretty well.
I say almost foolproof because, once in a while, Blood tends to get a little too airy and bland with tunes like “Relief” serving no purpose than to fill space with shuffling beachpunk, yet opener “Mental Models” is a raucous, riffy welcome to the party with a strong nod towards the masters of early doom. They never get terribly heavy or too over-the-top with the dissonance or attempts at mind expansion, and they uncover a bit of grunge with the Nirvana-like “Not For Me”, “Sleep”, and “Underwater”, just without any harsh punk involved. In fact, for a stoner album, this is fairly straightforward and frill-free, making it just as easy to listen to if you were sober as it would after a couple bong hits, and a shot or three of whiskey. It’s all going down smooth either way.
At the same time, the age of the material sometimes shows. Even though their chosen style of rock is difficult to fuck up a large percentage of the time, it’s almost all a little too easy to take, especially with the 70’s rock radio hit-that-never-was “Committed” bringing to mind a mushroom-tweaked Steve Miller Band at its most accessible. “Cleanliness” is another tune that sounds like it was lifted right off the radio from a Texas rock station, but after a few more spins it seems Snail are best when they keep their songs short and sweet. The longer they jam, like with “Screen”, “Blacklight”, and the title track is when things briefly meander and it’s harder to keep hold of the groove, but it’s still nothing to get bent out of shape over or hit the stop button out of boredom.
All in all, Snail could have shored off a few minutes on the longer tunes, but their heads are in the right place. While I doubt Blood will mark a historical return as far as comebacks are concerned, especially considering the general firepower 2009 is unleashing upon us, it definitely contains moments of quality stoner rock to enjoy, or at least check out samples online if a Foo Fighters/ Corrosion Of Conformity-lite type vibe suits your liking.