ALBUM: Spiders – “Shake Electric”
LABEL: Reaktor Recordings / Universal Music
GENRE: Retro-Rock / Hard Rock
RATING: 7.5 / 10
There´s something in the water in Sweden. A magical, mysterious substance that grants the inhabitants of this fine country with the ability to capture and reproduce the electric sounds of the golden era of rock, the 60´s and 70´s. The list is long, Witchcraft, Dead Man, Horisont, Black Trip or Graveyard being some of the better known names within the international scene. When listening to these bands it´s evident that the retro-rock scene is alive and good in Sweden, but this explosion of talent does also come with a bit of a downside, saturation.
This is where Spiders, formed in Gothenburg in 2010, comes in. While the sound of the band could be loosely compared to the likes of Graveyard or Troubled Horse (Spiders actually has or have had members of both bands), these guys introduce some much welcomed variation in the genre. That variation is called Ann-Sofie Hoyles.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving a special treatment to Spiders for having a female vocalist, nor do I measure them by a different standard, but the fact is that Ann-Sofie`s voice gives the band a massive edge. She is strong, soulful and very versatile, and adapts perfectly to the different nuances and moods that her colleagues bring into Spiders music. Yes, many male vocalists can do this too, but let’s just say that after listening to the howls of Robert Plant or Bobby Liebling for several months the sound of Janis Joplin or Grace Slick`s voice is a refreshing change of pace.
In “Shake Electric”, Spiders sophomore album, the band continues their progress building on the foundations set by “Flashpoint”, their debut from 2012. We can still find their roots in garage and classic rock with a punk attitude, but the sound in “Shake Electric” has been polished and enriched with new layers of blues and soul, approximating their style to the more radio friendly ensembles of the 60´s and late 70´s.
Listen, for example to “Hard Times”, a perfect take on a classic 60´s bluesy ballad or the great harmonies and pop choruses in “Shake Electric” or “Lonely Nights”, in which the band also makes excellent use of their dynamics. “Control”, “Mad Dog” or “War of the World” are good examples of Spiders heavier side, with plenty of angry riffs and hard bass lines. “Give up the fight” or “Back on the Streets” complete the album with a classic rock sound and I can´t help to think about Thin Lizzy thanks to John Hoyles excellent guitar work. Harryson and Griphammar run a tight ship when it comes to the rhythm section with the drummer anchoring the band in place and the bass player perfectly complementing Hoyles guitar work with heavy riffs and plenty of melody.
All in all, “Shake Electric” is a very well balanced album with strong composition, plenty of attitude and enough variation to keep the listen entertaining. Spiders has tighten up since their first record and Ann-Sophie´s fantastic vocals seem to get better with the years. If you are into bands like Witchcraft or Graveyard and haven’t listened to Spiders be sure to give these guys (and gal) a chance, they won’t disappoint.
Review by: WN