JASON WILLETT & RON ANDERSON: BE THE FIRST ON THE BLOCK TO EAT THE SNAKE
"The first impression you get after the opening tracks of Be The First On the Block to Eat The Snake is that it sounds like moderately talented teenagers screwing around in a pot-induced orgy of silliness.
Then you listen more closely and you wonder: Is it unfair to call them ‘moderately talented’? Ron Anderson alone has over 40 albums in his long resume. So it's probably a safe bet that the man is very talented, but after listening to this album you could be excused for questioning that assumption. He's worked with acts called RonRuins, PAK, the Molecules and Breast Fed Yak, and has produced several solo albums. He's known as a guitarist, yet the album’s liner notes credit him with bass, guitar, vocals, organ, trumpet, synthesizer, drums … and the list goes on. His lead guitar work occasionally sounds a bit Hendrix-like.
Jason Willett founded Megaphone Limited Records, and plays with Jad Fair. According to the liner notes he contributed drums, percussion, vocals, organ, piano, trumpet, banjo, guitar … and half the instruments in creation.
And if these credits make them sound like multi-talented multi-instrumentalists, be warned – it sounds like they took their instruments and manually beat them against a wall in a sort of syncopated rhythm while Jason’s duck waddled across the piano. Ron’s web site describes him as a guitarist who “…also will use anything that can make a sound…”. That is very apparent.
The cover art shows a badly focused close-up photograph of a hand holding a snake with an unnatural looking tongue. There’s no clarity about what the album title means, and the tracks have titles like “Hot Spit from A Ckllalglyhiix” , “Chickadickadiackadeeoh” and Floppy Zingtoo” There are 20 tracks spread across 42 minutes of sonic dissonance liberally punctuated with ducks and cats and weird vocal effects, and only the percussion seems to maintain some sort of relative consistency.
So you listen to it again and again and you let the whole thing sink in, and after repeated listens, your impression is … it still sounds like moderately talented teenagers screwing around in a pot-induced orgy of silliness. Recommended for spaced-out teens, or for aficionados of extremely avant garde noise-rock who will seek out and appreciate the hidden gems in this recording."
duncan glenday (sea of tranquility)