Hot Snakes Audit In Progress

[Swami; 2004]

Styles: punch-you-in-the-face rock, anvil-on-your-foot rock
Others: Drive Like Jehu, Rocket from the Crypt, New Bomb Turks

Pummeling. Sure, that Animal Collective stuff is enjoyable, but when was the last time you felt like an album jumped out of the stereo and kicked you in the teeth? Audit in Progress is the audio equivalent and to be out and the open, one of the finest albums of the 2004, hands down.

No surprise that John Reis is behind the goddamn thing. As Rocket from the Crypt closes the door on 15 years in the rock and roll business, it's Hot Snakes that takes the torch and becomes the focus of Reis, one of the most underappreciated figures in underground rock. Audit in Progress, the band's third full length release in nearly four years, sounds absolutely pristine. The band is as tight as a pair of spandex in 1987, and the album captures the tight drumming of newcomer Mario Rubalcaba and the slight melodies emanating from Rick Froberg's rhythm guitar. Reis' lead guitars and production are the main story here, but the strength of the songs and how they allow Froberg to yelp while remaining tuneful might be the missing link that evaded their previous two releases.

Song after song from Audit in Progress are foot-stomping anthems. "Hatchet Job," "Retrofit," and "Braintrust" all have the trademark Froberg rants; but with Rubalcaba's drumming and Reis' guitar wails, the tracks just destroy the listener while keeping them thirsty for more. This tight ship is no accident whatsoever. These guys are veterans from punk rock and everything good that came out of the underground 1990s. No newcomer could come along and produce such an album as Audit in Progress. It takes years of pouring their guts out for something like this to occur. Show some respect.

1. Braintrust
2. Hi-lites
3. Retrofit
4. Kreative Kontrol
5. Think About Carbs
6. Audit in Progress
7. Hatchet Job
8. This Mystic Decade
9. Lovebirds
10. Reflex
11. Hair Ad DNA
12. Plenty For All

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