Reviews Mind Spiders Self Titled LP

Mind Spiders

Self Titled LP

The Marked Men were the best band you’ve never heard. Well, one of them anyway. The beloved-by-some, under-the-radar-of-most band from Denton, TX may have taken the dreaded “hiatus” last year, but the members didn’t go into hiding. Instead, guitarist Mark Ryan returns with a solo project under the moniker Mind Spiders. On the eponymous debut Ryan plays the majority of the instruments, although legend has it that live shows in the Denton/Ft. Worth area feature a rotating all-star band. I can only trust the press sheet on that one, as Texas is a long ways from Minneapolis.

“Go!” starts things with immediate heavy drums and a group “Go-o-o-oh!” It doesn’t waste any time setting a tone that–while not exactly the Marked Men–isn’t wildly different either. It’s a burner that gets the adrenaline flowing and the foot tapping. Instead of exploring new territories here, Ryan is laying the groundwork for later on the record, slowly expanding from his other band’s more defined sound while keeping tightly-arranged garage-pop at its base. In general, the vocals a bit calmer, relying on nuance and inflection instead of the Marked Men’s hyperactivity, but there’s a clear familiarity. “No Romance” follows a similar formula with accelerated picking and Ryan’s distinct voice built around extremely precise guitar, but the song feels somehow more relaxed, even though it’s only 1:42 long.

Despite the similarities to his other projects, Mind Spiders really is a new and different band. By the time the record hits “Mind Spiders Theme,” there are layers of pedals and distortion, and even a hint of psychedelia. As the record progresses, the songs continue to take a broader scope. “Read Your Mind” is a swaying two-stepper that features soft strumming and smooth, 60s-styled R&B. Yet in other songs, he draws from less expected sources. By the time of album finishers “One Step Ahead” and “Close the Door” there’s a fuzzy, calculated feedback approach more akin to Jesus and Mary Chain. This gives a more expansive, louder texture that blends roots rock with more contemporary styles. Overall, the record plays off of Ryan’s familiarity in the Marked Men, but it expands well beyond the musical expectations surrounding that band. Unified by Ryan’s voice and his distinct guitar-style, Mind Spiders picks up where Ghosts left off, but lets off the gas pedal a bit while doing so.

8.0 / 10Loren
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Dirtnap

2011

8.0 / 10

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