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Snake Oil - Uppercut Attitude (2008)

Snake Oil is a French band that includes Daniel Jeand'heur of One Shot fame on the drums.The other three guys are well know in the French Jazz scene and include Boris Blanchet (sax), Romain Nassini (Fender Rhodes, organ) and Greg Theueniau (bass). This is a two disc affair with the first one being a new studio album while the second is a live session and includes James MacGaw (guitar) from One Shot and Magma fame. While One Shot came to mind once in a while I would descibe this as more avant and of course the sax certainly brings a different flavour to the table.

"SWB Part 1" features sax, sparse piano and some atmosphere and it turns dark just before it ends. "Troy" has these outbursts of sound that come and go and then it settles in. Here we go ! Nice heavy bass here as the sax plays over top. The rhythm section sounds like a stampede at times. Amazing sound 3 1/2 minutes in to the end. Nasty stuff. "White Dawn" is the longest track on disc one at over 14 minutes. We get these deep but laid back sounds as the bass pulses and the piano then sax plays over top. Drums too as it builds some. Love the bass in this one. The sax is all over this after 8 minutes. It settles back after 11 minutes. Killer track !

"1612" is dominated by the drums and sax early then the sax fades back and the bass shakes the soundscape. The sax is back before 3 minutes. "Mutation Majeur" along with "White Dawn" are my favourites off of disc one. This is laid back with sax until it starts to pick up a minute in. It turns nasty 3 1/2 minutes in. Drums only from 6 to 8 minutes. Nice. It ends as it began. "Love D.C." has this uptempo beat throughout that i really like as the sax joins in.

Disc two begins with "Doustrain Waltz" where we get huge bass lines as the sax and keys come to the fore and trade off. We get a nice heavy rhythm after 3 minutes. The bass is so growly and deep as the Fender Rhodes plays over top. Insanity 6 1/2 minutes in. Sax to the fore after 8 minutes. Ripping guitar comes and goes. So good. "Kelgout ?" has sax playing over the drums and bass then we get a calm. Lazy sax plays over the sparse sounds here. Some intensity before 8 minutes as it builds.

"Bravo" is a great track with chunky bass standing out along with piano, sax and drums. "Pas De Probleme" opens with what sounds like electronics. The rhythm section kicks in heavily. Keys play over top as the sax sceams. The guitar starts to rip it up later. It ends like it began.

Just a killer album that will appeal to those who are into adventerous jazz / Fusion. (progarchives)

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