The last time we visited Balaclavas on wax was for 2010's Roman Holiday, a terse and robotic LP populated by bombed-out guitars, dubby electronics and a dash of trance. On the upcoming Snake People, the band front-loaded everything we loved about Holiday and their two previous releases, Inferno and a self-titled EP, and went straight ahead into a sort of dance-oriented, Angelo Badalamenti-influenced direction they had only hinted at the past five years. When they opened for iceage a few months back, the Bala boys played Snake live in its entirety, making it one of the most riveting hours we had ever spent in their presence since first seeing them at a house party in 2007. Balaclavas has always been a delightfully glaring, jarring act inside a Houston scene dominated by rootsy smiles and jangle, and Snake People is another album we can point to to demonstrate our position that they are simply the most mature, fully realized band in town.

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