It seems like a miracle that the Hot Snakes put out records as long as they have—however short that might be. While three-fourths of the ferocious garage punk quartet lives in the sunny climate of San Diego, lead Snake Rick Froberg keeps permanent residence in New York City, 3,000 miles away. That kind of logistical roadblock would make keeping a band together a bit of an obstacle for most bands, but with the release of Audit in Progress, Hot Snakes’ third full-length record, that uncertainty has been quelled for the time being.
Audit in Progress isn’t a brooding art piece or an ambitious concept record. That’s not what anyone listens to Hot Snakes for, and that’s not what this album is. What it is is another furious row of a punk rock record, all jagged riffs and snotty lyrics. It’s the pinnacle of the band’s searing and serrated garage punk, and their heaviest album yet, if not necessarily their best. It only slightly pales to 2002’s Suicide Invoice, one of the greatest exports San Diego ever produced.
Hot Snakes have only one setting: destroy. And Audit in Progress does just that. Froberg’s vocals are consistently on shout. John Reis’ guitars are permanently set to chug and Mario Rubalcaba’s drums are always set to a steady pound. That said, there are countless highlights on the record, whether they’re the melodic riffs on “Think About Carbs,” the steady groove of “This Mystic Decade,” the dirty organ on “Lovebirds” or the light speed fury of “Braintrust.”
As usual, Audit in Progress is packed full of absurdity. The cover depicts a soccer ball with a face floating next to a pirate, who happens to have a cat, holding a sword, sitting in his lap. Huh? Exactly. Froberg’s lyrics are equally ridiculous, as well. In “Think About Carbs,” he rattles off dietary diatribes, while in “Kreative Kontrol,” he asserts, “I’d cut off my dick for creative control!”
It’s fast. It’s loud. It’s snotty. It’s the Hot Snakes.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.