Snake River

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Tread On To The Unknown You // Independent

Regina’s Snake River have been a staple within that cities music scene for years but have remained relatively unknown outside of Saskatchewan. Their fifth and latest album should catapult them into the hearts of music fans across the country. Easily their most ambitious and accessible album, Tread On To The Unknown You has a much brighter tone than previous outings. They still keep their psych roots but paint a much more colourful portrait with the instrumentation. A slew of guest appearances add gorgeous depth to these nine songs such as Lucas Goetz’ (Radiation Flowers) lap steel on “High/Low” or Karl Valiaho’s (Pile Of Bones Brass Band) saxophone on “Leave A Line”. Like their previous outings, the album is based around characters living in the fictional town of Snake River Mountain whose lives are anything but idyllic. On the darkly humorous opener “Our Protagonist, Reg” we learn about author Reginald McKruski’s sad life as a drunk and his loveless marriage to Jeanie McFeven-McKruski. The track is a highlight with its driving rhythm section and jangly guitars yet it’s the slow-burning “McKruski IV: No One Is Listening” and its star-studded cast of guest appearances that steals the show. Lizzy Burt (Basic Nature/Juniper Bush) on vocals, Chris Laramee (Shooting Guns/Radiation Flowers) on guitar, Steve Reed (Carbon Dating Service/Maybe Smith) on synthesizers and the aforementioned Lucas Goetz and Karl Valiaho all join Snake River on this layered up psychedelic wall of sound that might be the best song of the year. Simply put, Snake River have outdone themselves and need to be added to the list of the best psych bands in Canada.

- Jeff MacCallum