The phrase "snake oil" has come up a few times in conversation at the record shop lately. The term itself has quite a history, most notably by skeptics responding to the dubious claims of actual snake oil that was bottled generations ago in China to treat joint pain. At the shop, the context of the term has related to the audiophile world's vast array of high end stereo accessory upgrades including but not limited to: Interconnect cables, turntable styli, and hardware. Stumbling upon a record with the only printed text on it reading "Snake Oil", intrigued me enough to find out if the group had a legitimate thing going for it.
The Snake Oil layout is minimal and quite satisfying for some reason. A simple five-color rendition of a setting sun on a desert background can be found on the front cover, and a negative (featuring a white moon in place of the sun) can be found on the back. Inside,the black vinyl's center labels feature simply a blank yellow circle or blank white circle - the colors both corresponding to the front/back or side 1/side 2 respectively.
I decided to try this record out on my newly configured stereo set up (which I hesitate to describe in an effort to avoid a lengthy tangent) and I was pretty pleased with what I heard. Snake Oil continued their minimalist efforts by quickly revealing themselves to me as a psychedelic instrumental group. Although some of the tracks seem to become a bit meandering at times, the songs collectively entertained me and kept my attention for the entire album. The group has a new (and sometimes surfy) psychedelic feel, like Tristeza's A Colores, but a classically influenced Krautrock energy a la Xhol Caravan or Amon Düül. I'd recommend Snake Oil to any willing psychedelic music listener, but I can't guarantee it'll work for you.
Buy it HERE
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