Mean Red Spiders

The wall of sound they create on stage and on their recordings belies their number. Details, loops and oscillations hide in the outer reaches of the mix; hovering between loss and discovery; layering on top of layers to create an undeniable richness.

Circumstance often enters into the live Spiders performance, causing one member or another to take a primary or secondary seat in the overall sound, depending on the night. In fact, whole members have been known to disappear into the shadows; lurking – visually and sonically – making subliminal contributions to the creation at hand.

Eschewing four out of five voices, bassist Lisa Nighswander has become the live singer. Hers is the voice which melds playfully in the mix, sometimes coming out on top and taking shape in the form of words, other times dipping below the threshold of clarity, leaving only the ghost of melody and rhythm.

MRS are most in their element when creating works of juxtaposition. Their considerable talent is the ability to force opposites together into the same space. Simple melodies are immersed in complex textures. Dreamy, spacious music is imbued with an urgent, chaotic drive. The fragile and tentative is placed against an unrelenting aural attack. Similarly, their stage presence is at odds with their appearance. They at first seem a random aggregate of souls thrown together onto a stage, unaware of each other’s existence. This distinction stops the moment they begin to play. Though they may appear to have a deceptively casual and subtle stage persona, it soon reveals itself tobe impassioned, earnest, and at times, downright menacing.They are at the sound of anote unified in spirit and aesthetic. This sense of uniformity remains long after the last notes have sounded, leaving the careful listener sated, yet yearning for more.

At present, the band are near the completion of the follow-up to 1998’s stellar debut CD Places You Call Home. The new material that the band has been previewing at their live shows of late has been showing a development and refinement of the style that garnered them some well deserved attention in the past. The next disc, the title of which this writer would not be so bold as to reveal, is expected to surface April of this year.