Dundee based DIY label Make-That-A-Take has reasserted itself as a relevant voice in underground punk and alt scene in Europe, a voice imbued with the sort of authenticity and passion that arrives only with commitment. The label’s first release this year comes in an elegantly compelling, organic and heartfelt offering from HOLY SNAKES. “Be Kind” delivers a vintage and sensual sound
Recorded and mixed by Jason Rees at Dundee Music Studios, like Thin Lizzy and the MC5 covering psychedelic-era Pink Floyd and Al Green, the EP can be hear in its entirety below. “Be Kind” will be available via Make-That-A-Take Records as a digital download, as a CDEP and as a limited run cassette tape. The EP will be available at the launch show alongside Savage Mansion (LP launch) and Buffalo Heart at Conroy’s Basement on Saturday 16th February. GO HERE to RSPV.
The band commented:
Originally intended for demos, the session was a short one on an afternoon at DM, followed by vocal overdubs at Casa Rees the following week. Jason’s work was so good that it seemed foolish not to give it a release, and luckily our tight-bros-from-way-back™ Make That A Take Records were happy to help us out.
The work represented includes songs Dan Faichney arranged originally for solo playing, rearranged for trio performance, and songs written collaboratively with the trio.
Lyrically the songs explore Dan’s interior world between 2016 and 2018, a tumultuous, watershed period involving a new marriage contrasted starkly with family bereavement and a renewed horror at the political landscape. Alongside these heavier themes, the lyrics are laced with the kind of humour that amuses Dan and no one else, and references to literary works that are important to him, particularly the work of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
See the full track-by-track commentary by vocalist and guitarist Dan Faichney below:
If the player below does not work, please stay tuned. It will be unlocked in a couple of minutes:
1. God Bless You, Mr Rosewater
This song is as close as I could get to encapsulating the moving central philosophy of the titular Vonnegut book in the format of popular song. Vonnegut’s work is really important to me, and this particular book explores his deep humanism in a typically offbeat way. Wry cynicism juxtaposed with genuine warmth and affection. The chorus is a paraphrasing of that novel’s most famous passage: a potential baptism speech by protagonist Eliot Rosewater. Musically, this arrangement is the closest I’ve gotten to how it sounded in my head when I wrote it, a kind of guide piece for this band, in that it’s got a kind of Motown feel and we’re a garage band attempting to play soul music and rhythm ‘n’ blues.
2. Welcome to the Neighbourhood
What started out as a jam – a kind of riff on the Stones circa Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed –ended up as a kind of response to God Bless You, Mr Rosewater. We fleshed out the music with a big fuzzed-out chorus and a real tight psych / Curtis Mayfield groove at the end, and I wrote lyrics while bingeing Mike Schur’s The Good Place. Lyrically it’s a pseudophilosophical meditation on how you might introduce someone to human life, or a human afterlife.
3. Applause Sign
Definitely the song on the EP that sounds most akin to Matt’s and my previous band, The Shithawks, but with a sense of restraint and a lot more melody. There’s even a direct Shithawks lift, for those with ‘keen ears’. It’s pacey and that’s what I wanted to add to the set / the recordings. Probably similar in its references to early White Denim as well, a band I have loved for a long time and have frequently sought to emulate. The Shithawks references make sense in context of the lyrics as well though, it’s an incoherent attempt at making sense of the insensible, a frustrated holler about how the world around me got so fucked and who’s to blame.
4. Trains Song
This was written in the last days of my Gran’s life, and in the aftermath of her death, when I seemed to spend all my time travelling to and from Glasgow on increasingly grim train journeys. Or drowning my sorrows. It’s got a classic Dan Faichney Chorus Cop-out™ where I stopped trying to express anything more than melody and non-verbal introspection there. Musically in this arrangement we stripped it right back and it came out a kind of torch-song for the confused, the lonesome and maybe the drunk.
5. Feels Fine
Feels Fine began life as a sad-man slow-jam, written in the middle of the night, about the slow process of recovering from a hideous breakup, refinding myself and then finding a new love. A bigger love. A transformative love. It’s a really simple song but the way we’ve arranged it for the trio makes it effective, I think. It’s got a real nice breakdown with a fade-out / fade-in that didn’t involve faders (who knew a rhythm section could play so quiet??) and the catharsis of the outro is a great end to the EP and to our live shows.
Sat 16 Feb 2019 – Conroy’s Basement, Dundee – EP Release Show / w/ Savage Mansion, Buffalo Heart
Sat 16 March – TBC, Aberdeen – Round 2 w/Depeche Choad
March – TBC, Glasgow