The Snake The Cross The Crown - Mander Salis
(Equal Vision Records)
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Mar. 1, 2005
Review by Tony BonyataEmotive alternative rock filled with both modernized acoustic numbers and edgier complex art-rock arrangements is hardly the thing you'd expect to hear coming out of sweet home Alabama, but the quintet The Snake The Cross The Crown are either broadening the preconceptions of the sounds emulating from the South, or, more accurately, are positioning themselves as far as they can from them.
On their debut full-length album, entitled Mander Salis, The Snake The Cross The Crown have admittedly laid bare their influences of The Beatles and latter-day Pink Floyd, but none more so than the pre-knob twiddling Radiohead that the band wears so predominately on their sleeve. This comparison is most evident through bassist / lead singer Carl Marshall's falsetto voice that lilts and soars with a similar ghostly grace as Radiohead's Thom Yorke.
While the more introspective acoustic numbers such as "The Field of Ius," "A Brief Intermission" and "On The Threshold of Eternity" reflect the moodier personality of The Bends-era Radiohead, they manage to stand out on their own merits through the punchier electric guitar-driven number "Echolalia," the spirited "The Sun Tells the Moon" and the album's most fully realized song "Empires," which blends a haunting melody with swelling vocals, lush harmonies and a rich palette of musical hues and textures.
Despite the obvious influences that fear to overshadow The Snake The Cross The Crown, they still manage to show enough promise in the moments that are theirs' alone to warrant future interest.
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