If you’ve been on the prowl for innovative rock artists during the last couple of decades or so, one group that may have crossed your path is New Jersey-based Spider Rockets. Celebrating the twentieth anniversary since their initial formation, the group are set to release their fifth studio album, ‘Along Comes a Spider’ which marks yet another evolution for the group as a songwriting unit. With new producer Dan Malsch (Framing Hanley, Tantric, Doro) involved in the thick of it, the group are keen yet again to introduce a different sound to their repertoire. The group’s first three studio recordings during the early 2000s were produced by Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans, The Dresden Dolls, John Zorn, Herbie Hancock, Helmet, Unsane, White Zombie) and later Eric Rachel (Atreyu, Black Dahlia Murder, Hatebreed, Patti Smith Group, Misfits etc) which was more than enough to secure their notability within the emerging artistic circles of rock. They certainly aren’t a group that rely on their past, though. They’re always seeking to introduce new and exciting producers into their world in order to create an innovative work of art. Their new album is scheduled for release via P-Dog Records on 26 January. The album’s personnel consists of Helena Cos on vocals, Johnny Nap on guitars, Dave Whitaker on drums and Jimmy Mui on bass.
The album opens with the clean-cut incision of ‘Rip Your Heart Out’ which is a danceable blues-rock inspired number with elements of 80s style percussion. The track immediately slots itself into the realms of one’s memory because of how catchy it is and how nicely the verses segue into the chorus. Following what would be a stellar introduction to any record is the equally angst-ridden ‘Love it When You’re Wrong‘, although the chorus is perhaps more bombastic with echoing background chanting and dulcet vocal harmonies. Electro-styled flourishes permeate the production values of the song and it’s clear that this track is intended to be a much more polished version of the one prior to it. ‘Adore‘ is a slightly more pop-oriented number with clean acoustic verses. The hard-hitting drums and distorted guitars that were a pivotal figure in the previous two numbers only tend to appear during the track’s climactic chorus. A traditional breakdown with Hollywood-esque strings is showcased before the track plunges into what would be considered the first guitar solo of the record. ‘Drama Gore‘ is the album’s shortest track and it’s a track that really emphasises how the group are keen to adapt themselves into a much more accessible and modernised mould while still retaining their sense of rebellion and free spirit. ‘Hey Hey‘ is a track that echoes the group’s sensitivity for 80s-style percussion albeit with interpolations of hand-claps and sophisticated fills. From a pop standpoint, the group are more than educated as to how to construct an instantly gratifying piece of music. The track features yet another attention-worthy breakdown section before bursting into the second real guitar solo of the album. ‘Burn’ opens with Hendrix-style chordal voicings and a chorus which fulfils itself with excellent vocal effects. Definitely a strong track. ‘At Odds’ is a continuation of the argumentative lyrical themes that permeate the record. It could be postulated that the lyrics here may be an indirect attack on somebody who has caused the group some degree of stress or frustration. ‘Heartbreaker’ is a gritty number full of crunchy synth-bass flourishes. Whether the synth-bass is something they purposefully added to accentuate how “angry” they want this track to sound, it certainly does itself justice. ‘Come to Me’ isn’t one of the most catchy or memorable songs here but it still provides an excellent addition to what is most certainly an excellent contemporary rock album. The album closes with ‘Losing It’ and ‘Sick’.