Hot Snakes Automatic Midnight

The Hot Snakes are a super-group consisting of Speedo (aka John Reis) from Rocket From the Crypt, Rick Froeberg from Drive Like Jehu and Jason Kourkounis of Delta 72. Released on Reis's own Swami Records label, Automatic Midnight definitely contains elements of all the members other projects, with Drive Like Jehu being perhaps the most prominent one. The opening track, "If Credit's What Matters, I'll Take Credit," is a fast little number that reminds one of the more bombastic Rocket from the Crypt/Jehu songs, but has a stripped down, bad-ass vibe, with its strained-sounding vocals and no-bass guitar sparseness. The title track leads off with some minimalist, new wave-y organ and then grinds ahead like there's no tomorrow. All the songs are fairly short and punky, with an "arty" element thrown in by way of some jangly choruses and angular changes. The Hot Snakes can also slow things down, as they do on "Salton City," which consists mainly of organ and vocals. Speedo's distinct vocal attack is strangely absent, but leaks out here and there, like on the Sonic Youth-meets-Mick Collins creeper "Our Work Fills The Pews" and on "Mystery Boy." Automatic Midnight is a record that exudes a claustrophobic, nervous energy that insidiously builds as the record progresses (Swami)