Snake In The Grass – Johnny O’Neil (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

As much as musicians of the modern age often seem in search of the next new sound, eager to fuse genres into sonic chimaeras, be the first to the new fad or fashion, sometimes you just want to stay in your comfort zones. There is nothing wrong with returning to the sounds of your youth, leaning into familiar styles, of not being pressured to “move with the times.”

Johnny O’Neil is aware of this. I’m not saying that his sound is dated, it’s more that he is a current torchbearer for a sound which has been with us for about half a century now. And that sound we now call classic rock. Snake in the Grass sits at the sharp end of a line which begins when classic rock as simply rock, a line which runs back through 80’s metal, NWOBHM and back into the icons of the ’70s. And in that “if it ain’t broke” way, he simply updates it for the modern age appealing to the old school devotees and a new generation of rock acolytes simultaneously.

It’s big. It’s brash. It’s a lot of fun. It’s all about the groove and the grunt. Thundering beats and rumbling bass lines anchor the song to the ground so that incendiary guitars, in-your-face gang vocals and O’ Neil’s classic deliveries can go to work.

It’s the sound of the past, in the present, looking to the future of rock and roll. How great is that?

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