BY MICHAEL TOLAND
What is it about Australians and guitars? Put a six-string in the hands of a rock musician living Down Under and magic happens – dirty, grimy magic, most likely, but magic nonetheless. So it goes with Melbourne power trio River of Snakes. Ex-Magic Dirt guitarist Raül Sanchez loves his fuzzy fingerings, his thick riffs, screeching feedback excursions and general amp abuse proving him as much a disciple of Aussie guitar hero Rowland S. Howard as of J Mascis and Neil Young.
Black Noise revels in gritty guitar glory, with Sanchez straddling the divide between psychedelic lyricism and filthy sewer grate noise, supported by the thrumming stability of bassist Elissa Rose and drummer Glenn Evans. Mind you, we’re not talking about free-form AmRep guitar scree here (except for the symphonic feedback coda of “Separation Anxiety”). Sanchez’s axe abuse always serve the songs, whether they’re Dronesy ballads (“I Lied”), screaming noisefests (“Middening,” “Slater”), sneering put-downs (“The Words I Love You [Ain’t Enough]”), steel-jacketed pop songs (“I Wanna Be Your Baby”) or no-frills rockers (“Divine,” “Hacksaw,” sung by the leather-lunged Rose).
Black Noise = proof that the death of guitar-soaked rock & roll is still a few decades, if not centuries, away.
DOWNLOAD: “Divine,” “I Lied,” “I Wanna Be Your Baby”