Where are they? Where did they go? Did they pull an At the Drive-In, or should I say a Jehu? Did they sink with California? No, unfortunately California is still a float. Those were my first thoughts about the whereabouts of Hot Snakes. I guess it had only been two years, though it seemed longer, so I decided to send a friendly email to the Hot Snakes wondering if they were still around. Rick Froberg himself informed me with his response that they were working on another album. So to gain a bunch of indie cred I quickly ran to all the messageboards informing people of the great news. That was early in 2004. With the new album, came a new face. Drummer Jsinclair departed, bringing in Mario Rubalcaba for Audit in Progress or as I like to call it "Audit in Rockness"
Audit in Progress is their fastest and most upbeat-tempo album to date. As soon as you put it in your player and push the play button, it's like lighting a canon. Things get moving right away as "Brain Trust," "Hi-lites," and "Retrofit" meet you head on. Froberg repeats "Hi-treble!, hi-lites! / Hi-treble, hi-lites!" and other two word combinations over 50 times; I counted it and I almost lost count. You would think this would be super redundant and you would have enough "treble," "lights," and "strobes" for one day, but really you haven't, you crave more.
"Kreative Kontrol" is a bit reminiscent of Automatic Midnight, and "Think about Carbs" freshens it up a bit with an up-tempo rock song that will surely get your feet moving. You'll have those carbs burned off in no time! Don't worry, it's not like trying to dance to that shitty genre sweeping the nation where you'd just end up bumping into your stereo, or worse some kid with black hair, that is, if you were at a show. Right, anyways, "Audit in Progress" pretty much seals the deal for me, this is one of the best Hot Snakes songs to date. I would almost say it's their strongest track out of all three releases. What's that I hear, Ben Gurion? No, it's "Hatchet Job!" All right, so there is a little recycling going on but it's still great. When it breaks down into that progression, I just want to shout out "Let my people go!"
The first half of this album is really good, and the second half manages to keep up with first. "Reflex" is definitely the stand out track on the second half. Hot Snakes close things out with "Plenty for All," the catchiest song on the album and the catchiest song Hot Snakes has produced. You would think you'd only hear these three note melodies out of a pop song. It's actually pretty good, and they make it work. Audit in Progress is a strong follow up to Suicide Invoice, it's a great combination of fast tight rock riffs and unique surf like melodies, which they incorporate into their music. Rick Froberg's vocals have only gotten better. His lyrics, well, I still don't know what hell he is writing about, but it doesn't even really matter with how strong Hot Snakes are musically.
Hot Snakes have proven themselves with a great freshman and sophomore releases, and they do it again with Audit in Progress. I have a hard time saying it's their best, but it's got something the other two albums don't. There are only a couple songs on this album that aren't awesome. But it's refreshing, it rocks, and it's still the Hot Snakes. There isn't much more you can ask for, save maybe a Jehu reunion tour?
8.5 / 10
Hot Snakes first formed in 1999 and ran until 2005. They re-formed in 2011 for some tours and finally bring the rock in the new album Jericho Sirens, released in early ...
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