Snakecharmer – ‘Second Skin’

 


THE BAND:
Chris Ousey – vocals
Laurie Wisefield – guitar
Simon McBride – guitar
Adam Wakeman – keyboards
Neil Murray – bass
Harry James - drums

 

 

Track listing:
1.) “Sounds Like A Plan” – This intro opens with two rhythm guitar riffs.  The band added a small rest between the last two music notes of the second riff.  Over the top of this rest there was a small keyboard effect.  After the keyboard effect Chris kicks-in the vocals of the verse.  The band used the same rhythm guitar arrangement for the musical verse as the one for the intro arrangement.  After the fourth lyric line the drum and bass line kick-in.  Over the top of the drum and bass line kick-in there was a minor lead guitar solo.  The seventh lyric line consisted of not only a backing vocal buy also a rhythm arrangement change.  There was a second rhythm change for the musical chorus. The chorus has a huge hook attached to it.  In between the chorus there a few lead guitar licks.  The chorus was a repeat of the first.  So was the chorus.  After the second chorus there was a musical bridge.  The bridge led to a lead guitar solo.  After the solo there was a third chorus.

2.) “That Kind Of Love” –Harry opens this intro with a bass drum kick along with a snare crack.  The intro consisted of the full band that had a very nice musical hook to it.  The rhythm guitar of the intro plays straight chords.  It sounds like either Neil Murray is using a fader effect on the bass notes in between the lyric lines or one of the guitarist.  There was a lead guitar solo connecting the musical intro with the musical verse.  The band used the same chord progression as the one for the intro.  In between the second, third and fourth there was a few lead guitar licks used to connect the lyric lines. After the first verse there was a musical rest, this is where Harry hit four snare cracks: these four kicked in the musical chorus.  The lead and backing vocals opened the chorus.  There was a musical arrangement change for the musical chorus.  Though the musical and vocal arrangements of the chorus consisted of very huge hook, it had to be the female backing vocalists that made.  There was a whole note on lead guitar connecting the musical verse with the second musical verse.  In between each lyric line there were a couple lead guitar notes.  For the third lyric line the first few lyrics was double-tracked by Chris.  After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo.  Over the top of the lead guitar solo there was four lyric lines.  After these lyric lines the single guitar solo turned into a twin lead guitar solo.  The twin lead guitar solo was very laid back and suited this song very nicely.  After the twin solo there was a breakdown section.  The lead guitar solo ran underneath the lyric lines of the breakdown section.  Harry’s drum line of the breakdown consisted of only a hi-hat pattern.  Harry plays a small tom-tom fill to bridge the breakdown with the third verse.  Underneath the third chorus there was several lead guitar licks.  The coda consisted of several lyric lines along with a minor lead guitar solo.
3.) “Are You Ready To Fly” – This track opens with the split second effect of a jet engine.  This intro consisted of the full band.  Underneath the guitar tracks there was a keyboard arrangement After two measures there was a short snare drum fill.  Neil turned his bass up which gave the musical arrangement a very heavy sound.  For the last few notes of the last measure of the intro there was an arrangement change.  The first three lyric lines of the musical verse consisted of keyboards and guitar along with a hi-hat rhythm.  After the third lyric line of the verse the band kicks the song-in.  At this point within the verse there was a rhythm arrangement change.  This arrangement change consisted of remnants of the musical intro.  The musical chorus of this track was OK.  It wasn’t bad however I have heard the band write better ones.  There was a snare drum fill connecting the musical chorus with the second verse.  Underneath the second lyric line there was a lead guitar lick.  The second chorus was better than the first.  After the second chorus there was a guitar breakdown.  This lead to the lead guitar solo.  There was a huge Harry James snare fill leading into the lead guitar solo.  The lead guitar solo ran underneath the third chorus.  The end of the coda consisted of a lyric line.
4.) “Follow Me Under” – This track opens with a rhythm guitar riff.  Underneath the riff Adam plays a few keyboard notes.  After one measure Harry kicks the intro in.  The micing and tuning of Harry’s drums just gave the drum line an amazing sound!  The main rhythm guitar of the verse was the same one for the main part of the intro.  The band used a very similar guitar riff for the musical verse as the one for the intro section.  The bass line of the verse had an amazing sound to it.  The last lyric line of the musical verse was double-tracked.  There was a rhythm change for the musical chorus.  Underneath the last lyric line and connecting the first chorus with the second verse there was a minor lead guitar solo.  The second lyric line of the second verse consisted of a backing vocal.  In fact every other lyric line of this verse was consisted of a backing vocal.  After the second chorus there was second minor solo that lead to a breakdown.  After the last chorus over the top of the coda there was a third minor solo section.                   
5.) “I'll Take You As You Are” – This track opens with a very simple seventies rhythm guitar arrangement.  Over the top of the rhythm guitar of the intro there were very short slide guitar licks.  The band used the same acoustic guitar rhythm for the verse has the one for the musical intro.  In between each lyric line there was a small slide guitar licks.  After the fourth lyric line there was a tom-tom fill and music arrangement kick-in.  It is at this point they drop the acoustic guitar for two electric guitars.  After the first chorus the band reverted back to the intro arrangement.  The song pretty much repeats itself up to the lead guitar solo section.  After the second chorus there was more or less a minor lead guitar solo.  Some of the notes from the solo ran from right to left speaker.  The major solo consisted of a twin lead guitar solo.  Which the song was just screaming for!  The coda consisted of a repeat of the musical intro.

6.) “Hell Of A Way To Live” – This intro consisted of a rhythm guitar arrangement over the top of Harry playing a tom-tom/snare pattern.  Harry was also keeping the band in time with his hi-hat.  After two measures there was a female backing harmony over the top of rhythm guitar.  This led to the musical verse.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse.  For the rhythm guitar arrangements and bass line of the musical verse Laurie, Simon and Neil play the same rhythm notes.  Neil turned his bass up this gave the music arrangement a very heavy sound!  This song had a mean guitar arrangement to it.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical chorus.  To connect the chorus with the second verse the band used the same arrangement as the musical intro. After the second chorus there was a small lead guitar effect.  The way the lead guitar solo of this song was engineered was amazing!!!!!  There was several lead guitar notes over the coda.
7.) “Fade Away” – This was an amazing ballad in the vein of old Whitesnake/Bad Company.
8.) “Dress It Up” – This intro opens with a rhythm guitar arrangement.  The arrangement consisted of several musical rests giving it an almost AC/DC feel.  After the main riff is played once Harry kicks-in the drum line with a hi-hat and bass drum pattern.  When the third riff is played the band kicks in a second rhythm guitar.  It is also at this time Harry switches to a standard drum rhythm.  The band used the same rhythm guitar arrangement for the musical verse as the one for the intro.  For me, what made the musical verse was Neil’s bass line.  There was a snare drum fill connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus.  The way the lyric lines were arranged reminds you a lot of the band Free.  After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo. 
9.) “Punching Above My Weight” – The intro to this track opened with an acoustic guitar arrangement.  About two measures into the arrangement and a second instrument kicks-in.  It was very hard to tell if this was a second guitar or a keyboard.  The band used a very similar acoustic guitar arrangement for the musical verse as the one for the intro.  There was a musical rest underneath the third lyric line of the chorus. Half of this lyric line consisted of backing vocals.  After this lyric line the band kicks the song in.  After the second chorus there was a guitar solo.  The last few notes of the lead guitar solo was double-tracked.  The third chorus was arranged as a breakdown.  This song all in all was very straight forward.

10.) “Forgive & Forget” – This song consisted of nothing flashy just a straight forward blues/rock song.  Much like the ones you would here in a smoke filled bar. 
11.) “Where Do We Go From Here” – The guitar arrangement of this intro had a Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin feel to it.  The band used the same guitar rhythm for the musical verse as the one for the intro.  As the verse progressed a keyboard kicked in.  The song kicked in after the second chorus.  In between the lyric lines of the third verse there was little lead licks.  The lead guitar solo connected the third chorus with the coda.



    In the late nineties and early 2000’s the original members of Whitesnake, Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody and Neil Murray formed Company Of Snakes however after a cease and assist order was produced by founding member David Coverdale the band changed their name first to The Snakes then to M3.  In 2007 after the release of their live album ‘Rough An' Ready’ the guys called it a day. In 2011 Snakecharmer released their first self-titled release.  This year the band returns with ‘Second Skin’.  This time around the only original member of the original Whitesnake is Neil Murray on bass.
Still fronted by Heartland singer Chris Ousey and their new recruit – respected blues circuit hotshot Simon McBride – matches the calibre of other founding members guitarist Laurie Wisefield, Adam Wakeman on keyboards, and Thunder/Magnum drummer Harry James.  With their sophomore release the band lost some of the Whitesnake feel and are starting to find their own sound.  This was fine with me, I’m glad to hear a band start to find their own niche.  I say this knowing a lot of the songs have a Bad Company feel.  However I keep in mind this was right up the guy’s wheelhouse so that didn’t bother me.  This is a release to have if your into good solid rock!