Album Review: Rattlesnake Milk

Chicken Fried Snake (Feels So Good)

Album Review: Rattlesnake Milk

Rattlesnake Milk's third album makes for ideal road trip music, but not the kind where friends pile into a convertible and drive to L.A. It belongs to beige and barren landscapes, in a pickup truck or semi cab, with one hand on the wheel and one paranoid eye on the rearview mirror. An air of desolation, along with a feeling of being on the run, is palpable in the eerie, dusty Western of Chicken Fried Snake.

Historically, a record that's less punk than a band's previous work – especially while leaning into Americana – often coincides with a drop in vitality and rawness. So it's remarkable that Chicken Fried Snake, dialing back the cowpunk horsepower of their eponymous 2020 LP and further distancing the CB radio garage of debut Snake Rattle and Roll, contains equally potent doses of desperation and restlessness, but with homed-in dynamics. Lou Lewis' staccato singing still propels the brewing violence of ".38 Special" and tweaker trucker narrative "Midnight Train," but he holds a moody note like Chris Isaak on the mournful "Die Young" and taps into an unusually hopeful melody on "Looking for a Halo."

Ever Rattlesnake Milk's lifeblood, Andrew Chavez's reverb-spooked electric guitar thrives on Chicken Fried Snake. His unrelenting sequences of bending and sliding minor notes – perfected on "Come on Home" – colorize the stark sound of the Lubbock-originated, Austin-evolved quartet who's never been better at poeticizing the forces of nature for lost souls in forgotten towns: drugs, death, and love.

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Rattlesnake Milk, Feels So Good, Lou Lewis, Andrew Chavez

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