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Snake in the Radio

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: E1 Entertainment Dist ***
  • ASIN: 5558370130
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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By R. Kesler on December 12, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Yes, there really is life after grunge. During the 80's and 90's there were a lot people drawn to the grunge sounds that were filtering their way out of Seattle, and across the country, like some plaid banner that was slowly fraying in the wind. Of course some of it was better then others, but at the core of grunge there was an elemental honesty, and that honesty was Americana by way of alternative country.

Here on his first outing Mark Pickerel, the once drummer of Screaming Trees, finds a very comfortable place to sit, and proves he's got the chops to be around for a very long time ... sounding fresh, exciting, and unfettered as he lays out some hauntingly brilliant lyrics with a husky, almost graveled voice, revealing more mature, introspective, and nurtured musical sensibilities; reminding me much of the direction Lloyd Cole took after his departure with The Commotions. A couple of the tracks still smile with that youthful exuberance, but for the most part you can trust his stance, and easily hear the contributions to the work he's done for artists like Niko Case. His shimmering guitar solos float like a freight train coursing its away through sleepy towns, fields of fresh cut grain, across shaky tresseled bridges, and into the wee hours of the morning, while skirting big cities, where too much light blinds the eyes, and dulls the senses.

Review by Jenell Kesler
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There are about equal doses of Chris Isaac and Lee Hazelwood flavoring the overall sound and mood of "Snake in the Radio" by Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands. The music reminds me of Isaac's, the singing hints at the late Hazelwood's style. The overall sound is either a hazy, slow-motion blend of alt-country and rock or a limber sprint from something spooky and unexpected.

There is plenty of guitar--electric, acoustic, pedal steel, slide--a bit of mandolin, keyboards, and drums that render the thick atmosphere nearly unbearable in large doses, creating a sparkling gloom. I find the up-tempo tracks easier to listen to but the dirge-like slow songs harder to break free from.

Apparently, Mr. Pickerel got here by way of being a veteran of the Seattle grunge scene as he played drums for Screaming Trees and others from that genre. That's quite a journey considering what he has created here. Overall, "Snake in the Radio" is an interesting album but there's only so much darkness I can absorb at once.
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