Amazing Snakeheads

The Amazing Snakeheads were a talented Scottish band that flamed out just as quickly as they rose.

I got turned onto the group by a friend in early 2015. I was back in Melbourne for a short week-long visit to renew my U.S. visa and hang out with friends.

One Saturday afternoon me and some pals ate some mushrooms. As we waited for the effects to take hold we took turns playing music videos on YouTube. My pal Zander dropped “Here It Comes Again” by The Amazing Snakeheads.

The tune is a banger. A pulsing krautrock bassline is augmented by a shrill rockabilly riff. Singer Dale Barclay repeats the verse refrain “here it comes again” until the explosive instrumental garage-rock chorus.

I made a mental note in my loopy brain to learn more about the band. When I got back to the States I liked the band on Twitter and Facebook so I could keep track of their tour schedule.

A few weeks later the band ended. The following message was posted on their social media pages:

The Amazing Snakeheads are over. Never, ever to return. To anyone who came to get down, I thank you with all my heart. Dale Barclay.

Like so many others I felt saddened. The Amazing Snakeheads seemed like they were going places.

I checked out the other tunes from their sole release “Amphetamine Ballads”. Their sound was simple, powerful and dark. The songs are gothic but more in the vein of The Gun Club or Nick Cave rather than The Cure.

I learnt about the history of the group. Their quick rise to the top in the local Glasgow scene. The original drummer and bass player leaving only a few month’s before the group’s eventual demise.

In my younger days I would’ve perhaps been more gutted that the Snakeheads didn’t release more records or that I never saw them live. But now I find beauty in something fizzing out before it’d properly begun.

In our culture of “authenticity” and “transparency” we are encouraged to publicize everything we do. Good, bad or mediocre who gives a fuck: tell me everything about your journey. Actual mystery is a rare commodity.

Maybe they’ll be back. Never rarely means never in the music industry. But for now I’m more than happy with a single great record, some cool YouTube clips and a lingering sense of mystery.

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