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Snakes are in the river

Well doesn’t he look like a charming fellow.
Well doesn’t he look like a charming fellow.

McKruski makes its début

Article: John Kapp – Contributor

McKruski is a daunting album to review. Snake River is an established band-around-town and this album having been nearly two years in the making. It is a behemoth.

McKruski was written and performed by the band’s front man, Chris Sleightholm (The Lonesome Weekends), who continues to perform around Regina with a full band.

It is the tale of a dream shared by the town of Snake River Mountain on February 23, 1989. This album traces a narrative from track one to eight, telling the tale as if it were to accompany the narrative of a Hollywood film.

McKruski, our cigar-chomping protagonist on the album’s cover, is an enigmatic figure with a questionable past, somewhat akin to Eastwood’s Man With No Name. McKruski plays like an epic poem, recalling the concept albums of the 1970s while lacking in the cheese of the early attempts.

Lyrically this record touches on concepts of lost lovers, but deeper psychological and philosophical tendencies. The penultimate track – “Mr. McKruski Addresses The Crowd,” lyrics’ read as a case study in social psychology, confronting the myths society and the individual tell themselves to maintain cohesion – a decidedly Lacanian take on lyrical songwriting.

Track six, “He Still Dreams Of You” is, for me, the standout tune. Its guitar parts echo the wails of long-lost loves while the vocals of Sleightholm haunt the listener.

This album will challenge the notions you hold about rock and roll and the songwriting, which goes into creating a complete record. I recommend people check out their album release show on March 21 at The German Club. McKruski is released by 13th Ave. Records on vinyl LP with a beautiful hand-printed cover.

Image: John De Gennaro

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