I am on a very cool mailing list that, for some reason, has
a slew of people from Toronto on it. All of the Torontoans have
raved about this band. Apparently they are the shining stars
of the Toronoto "alternative rock" scene. Who knew? Anyway,
this is their second release, and after some work at tracking
it down i must admit that i am far from disappointed! (HINT:
the only online record store i found that carried it.) This
is a pretty solid alt-rock album, and i look forward to catching
these people on their impending tour of the East Coast of the
The thing that i like about them is that they kind of remind
me of Lush. At least in the vocals -- that sort of high-pitched
girl singing. The great thing about Mean Red Spiders is that
this singing is present, but somewhat slurred. A little buried
in the mix, but not so far buried as to become indecipherable.
The vocals are there, but they neither dominate the music, nor
are they dominated by it.
And the music itself is nice and sparse. Almost minimal at
times. There is also a whole lot of instrumental work -- long
jam out interludes between vocal bits.
Mean Red Spiders apparently have some range too. They can be
loud and rocking, like on Glass, where they put forth
a positive wall of guitar sound, and on Azimuth of Panama,
which reminds me of A Thousand Leaves-era Sonic
Youth (which is a good thing, fellow minion Tracers'
commentary aside.) I really am looking forward to seeing these
two songs live!
On the other hand, Mean Red Spiders are able to play the other
end of the spectrum as well. During their breif stint on the
"Main Stage" at Lollapalooza 1994, Mac MacCaughan of Superchunk
said something like, "The sign of a great band is being able
to slow things down and still keep it interesting" as his band
descended into the long slow and beauitiful introduction to
Like A Fool. Mean Red Spiders can do that -- they can
slow it down, and still keep me interested. In fact, i think
the most beautiful song on the disc does this perfectly. It's
called Red/Blue and starts off as a positive wall of
sound which (after a few minutes) slows down to some light,
washed out melody, and eventually (several minutes later) just
fades away into Left, the next track, which is a similarly
slow song of arpeggiated guitars. This is a really beautiful
sweep of guitarwork!
So, if you like guitar rock, i can wholeheartedly recommend
this. In fact, go see them on tour if you can (Dottie's in Atlanta
on Saturday 18.November.2000). However, if you are not a fan
of this style of music, i don't think that they will convince
you of anything.