From Massachusetts , a three-prong guitar rock n roll attack 

Sometimes, just sometimes, as much we like doing these reviews at MV, you have to hold your hands up and say the bands themselves might do it better. See, however hard we tried we could never better this description of Tom Baker And The Snakes:, so here goes. “We play hi-energy Rock n Roll in the Stones/Faces vein. We enjoy guitars. We enjoy loud guitars. Lend your ears to a sonic blast that is here to last.”

They do too, and “Lookout Tower proves they are brilliant at it.

As tempting as it would be to end this review right there and go and listen to the damn thing again, we kinda owe TBATS a little more.

And it’s the guitar thing that is the key here. There are three of ‘em. Iron Maiden style (well not like Iron Maiden but allow us some license) alongside Baker – a stalwart of the Boston rock n roll scene – are John Brookhouse (Worshipper, The Dirty Truckers) on lead guitar and Charles Hansen (Rock Bottom).

Between them they have created something which struts and crunches and chugs – and that, to be fair, is the opening 15 seconds of opener “Gotta Find Her”.

And, if we might be so bold as to question a band as good as this one, there is one thing they missed off their description of their sound. There is a whole dollop of the Blue Collar Americana of John Mellencamp and the like here. Indeed, while nothing here quite gets into Springsteen territory, it is easy to imagine The Boss covering a song such as “Run It Out” in one of his rock n roll medleys.

Looking for highlights on a collection as strong as this is a bitch of a thing to do. However, the lip-curling cool of “Make It Hurt” must be close. Not least because it contains these lines: “Oooh yeah, and alright, kicked in the wallet, it doesn’t seem right/ oooh yeah, can I say, kicked in the balls might be better that way”.

Elsewhere “Doll Eyes” is perfect summery power pop, “Waitin’ For Nothing” is Cheap Trick-esque fun, and you can imagine it being wonderful live. Indeed – musically at least – the whole thing is done with a gleeful smile on its face.

“Bad Change” is the epitome of the three minute pop song, the slower “Needle In The Red” has the kind of vibe of all those bands that found their way to the UK  in the wake of early REM and before Grunge. “Satisfied Fool” is like when the Stones get funky, but there is a feeling that Tom Baker and The Snakes are at their very best when they just go for it, as on “Maybe Come Back To Me”.

For all that, though, they just might be fabulous whatever they do. “Say Goodbye” – which ends things here – is a laid-back strum with a country side. And it most certainly isn’t out of place.

“Lookout Tower” needs you to find it, because it is an absolute gem.

Rating 8.5/10

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