Snakecharmer is one of the many branches of the Whitesnake family tree. Formed by ex-Snakes Neil Murray and Micky Moody in 2012 and featuring Adam Wakeman on keyboards, the band released a well-regarded debut in 2013 and got some shows under their belts. Moody left the group in 2016, but Murray kept the band together and added Irish-born Simon McBride on lead guitar to complete the line-up. Now for 2017 the band’s back with album #2, appropriately titled SECOND SKIN.
With any band related to Whitesnake, you sort of know what you’re going to get musically: hard driving blues rock steeped in authenticity and that’s exactly what Snakecharmer delivers. Wrapped in clear production, the album jumps out of the speakers (or headphones, if you prefer) as opening track “Sounds Like a Plan” kicks into gear with classic rock riffs and Chris Ousey’s clarion call lead vocals. You’ll be excused for thinking of not only Mr. Coverdale, but other classic rockers like Free and Bad Company as well. These guys are authentic, for sure.
The band rounds the blues rock bases over the course of the album but it never feels like they are just going through the motions; this is a band that’s passionate about their music. Ousey’s vocals definitely shine, but all of the members get their moments in the sun, with that clear production giving all of the instruments room to breathe.
Favorites include the harder rocking “Follow Me Under” and the plaintive popster “Punching Above My Weight”. Unfortunately there are a few songs peppered throughout the track list that are forgettable, but taken as a whole SECOND SKIN is a shining example of blues rock done right.
The loss of Moody is a blow to the band’s lineage, but musically Snakecharmer are as authentic as it gets and definitely worth fans’ attention.
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