These Arms Are Snakes Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home

After such a promising debut with last year’s This is Meant to Hurt You EP, These Arms are Snakes take a step backward with an album that sounds too forced and too little finessed. True, the band has always been devoutly aggressive. Their lyrics (and instrumentation and composition and song and album titles) are reminiscent of At the Drive-In fronted by a less fluid Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys, but they seem to lack the assuredness, skill and oddity of those exemplars. Front-man Steve Snere’s braying comes out hackneyed over the embarrassing "Big News,” a gauche rail against the market economy. In fact, Snere’s voice is expediently sparse on the brilliantly titled "Gadget Arms,” one of the most enjoyable, albeit long-winded, songs on the album. The band would do well to revisit some of the sounds of their debut EP or take Snere’s advice from "Greetings from the Great North Weeds”: "Let’s go out and get jobs.” (Jade Tree)