Published Jan 01, 2006Created at an almost glacial pace, the Deadly Snakes' fourth album features the group's most muscularly diverse songs to date. "There was no rush to get the record out at the time but then, all of a sudden, fucking two years went by," says Deadly Snakes' organist and vocalist Age of Danger. The absence of any pressing deadlines allowed the group to pour an abundance of work into the disc.
It paid off. Porcella skilfully distils multiple influences. Blues, soul and gospel melodies run alongside pop, country and rock'n'roll tones to create a remarkably stirring album. "I think the first three records all eased into this sound. We've been hinting at it on pretty much everything we've released. I don't think it's a drastic step in a different direction," says drummer Andrew Gunn.
Band members began rehearsing and recording demos in 2003 and began proper sessions last July, spending ten days in a 19th century cabin owned by Gunn's parents located near Lake Huron. "We were recording at four in the morning certain nights and we weren't bothering anyone," says Gunn. "We were surrounded by fields; just because we had all the time in the world, we really got to figure out what deserved to be on the record."
Given the broad scope they were aiming for, the Snakes knew they would need further studio sessions. They added overdubs at Hallamusic Studios in Toronto and invited guests including Mark Sultan of BBQ and Mike Belitsky from the Sadies. In the spring of 2005, the Snakes finished mixing and mastering the record, but the release was delayed as the band tried to secure distribution here at home, according to Danger.
The Snakes will finally have their discs readily available in Canadian record stores courtesy of Paper Bag Records. Along with better Canadian distribution, the group have also been enjoying greater stability, something its founding members, Danger, Gunn, Matthew Carlson and Andre Ethier, previously lacked.
"The thing about living in Toronto is sooner or later it's your turn to be in the Deadly Snakes," Gunn says. "That was sort of the case for the first four or five years. We went through 15 or 20 people. I don't know that we're really that difficult to get along with."
Porcella marks the first time the group have had the same musicians on two recordings, with bassist Chad Ross and saxophonist Jeremi Madsen included in the line-up. Since the band's inception in the late 90s, the group's rousing music has been linked with garage rock, an association that doesn't consistently fit given the band's soul and gospel influences. With its layered textures and varied songs, Porcella pushes the band even further away from the genre.
"It's like this contemporary garage rock standard to have the vocals completely buried; we didn't want to do that because we wanted people to hear the lyrics," says Danger. Despite Porcella's wide songwriting range and diverse instrumentation, a consistent thread runs through it. "We have this tone that is the one thing I think that ties the whole record together. Although the songs are very eclectic, it's all recorded in this log cabin and you can hear that," says Danger. "It's on the feeling of the record."