Snakehips are survivors in a world of near rock ‘n’ roll extinction. With critical and artistic successes that include “Lit” (1993), “Memphis Juke” (1997), “Turn You On” (2001), “Monster Bars” (2005), and “Month of Sundays” (2009), they now offer their sixth full-length release “Must Be Present To Win.”
In a bluesy, booze-soaked 80’s Memphis environment awash with slinky soul and skewed pop, singer/guitarist Mark Harrison received his musical education. In 1989, after a summer of gigging with Shag Nasty, Neighborhood Texture Jam, and Tav Falco and Panther Burns, Harrison formed Snakehips. The sonic foundation of the band distilled elements of early rock, blues, and the trippier aspects of the southern muse as ingredients for their own home brew.
Harrison has quietly released an enduring catalog of power pop, rock, and hauntingly spare ballads. Each is colored by an assortment of musical flourishes, from the country tinged pedal steel, to a Wurlitzer organ, a horn section, strings, and Moog synthesizers. “Win” continues this progression and adds the band’s first video for the song Tennessee.
The album begins with the dark tone of a society in decline: the brooding protopunk of Tennessee and Swinger. Next, they move to the rootsier vibes of Only One and Live Free Or Die, a world weary country lament. Can’t Turn You plays as one long garage rock hook. New Day is pure power pop. Diverse in influences and focused as a rock album, “Win” draws from the rich history of music made in Tennessee.