EmptyMansions it’s the solo effort of Interpol’s drummer Sam Fogarino. Sam Fogarino wrote most of the songs for snakes while on tour promoting Interpol’s fourth and self-titled album, from mid 2009 to late 2011. This is raw sounding, garage flavored, but genuine indie rock, somewhere in the space between dEUS, Eels (in their good old days) and Sonic Youth. As he describe it: lyrically, the songs are the result of he’s reading much postmodern fiction by writers such as Hubert Selby Jr (‘Sulfate’); discovering an appreciation for aerial dance and a fascination with outer-space (‘Lyra’); the TV-drama Justified (‘Up In The Holler’), and Black Francis of Pixies fame (‘That Man’). Musically, Sam drew upon classic heavyweights; Neil Young (The closing track on snakes is a cover of ‘Down By The River’), The Stones, Zeppelin—filtered through his affinity with the likes of Sonic Youth and Pixies.
While Sam Fogarino is responsible for vocals, guitars and drums; Duane Denison (The Jesus Lizard, Tomahawk, Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers) was employed for playing guitars and producer Brandon Curtis (Secret Machines, Cosmicide, Interpol) not only producing, recording, and mixing snakes, but also playing bass, keyboards, and singing backing vocals.
The result it’s a raw, but soulful, noisy, but joyful ageless rock trip in and out of conventional, familiar spaces. “FTC” reminds me mostly of dEUS, it’s twisted and tensioned, but getting under your skin, occupy your ears and stick to your soul. “Lyra” and “Sulfate” bring back the “Dirty” era Sonic Youth vibe. Feels very good! “That Man” it’s gloomy and menacing, growing slowly above you and finally bury you under with its weight and a sharp, bone cutter wicked riff.
Pop-like melodic hooks, pounding drums and post-punk beats with pulsing basses and sometimes quite dissonant, dirty guitar riffs makes this “snakes/vultures/sulfate” a very alive, breathing, enjoyable, and throughout exciting listening.
While the mainstream almost drained of meaning and content the Indie rock by releasing countless copies of tasteless imitations, this kind of genuine Indie releases proves that creativity will eventually surface even through the bottomless layers of junk products. Only have to put some soul in it and get a little support.
Sam said: “”Some things can take decades to arrive at. In this case I’m speaking of songwriting—Even within the simplicity of a typical rock band configuration: guitar, bass, and drums. Not highly original or too complicated—Nonetheless, what this ‘thing’ can be is highly illusive, hard to grasp, and even harder to wrangle into a worthy song. This might be why, we as fans and musicians alike, return to such a common voicing repeatedly—New or old, it’s familiar, it’s comfortable, and at times, it’s the only fucking thing that feels right. Thus far I’ve spent more than half my life playing in many different rock bands, in return for nothing but the satisfaction of doing what I wanted to do, not what I was expected to do. For the past twelve years (and still counting) I’ve been fortunate enough to dedicate a vast amount of time and energy to playing drums in the band Interpol. In November 2011, at the completion of a fifteen month long tour supporting the band’s fourth, selftitled effort, I found that I had finally arrived at EmptyMansions. A long time coming; not without effort, but rather without force—This alone took years to figure out. I’d finally written some songs that, I not only liked, but that I had to sing myself. There was no choice in the matter. To do it any other way would have rendered the whole endeavor dishonest and pointless.”