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Spiders - Shake Electric

Spiders – CD Review
Shake Electric





CD Info
Spinefarm Records / Universal Music / Reaktor Recordings
10 Tracks
English Lyrics

If the band called Spiders was a car, it would be a re-engineered and pimped 1974 Dodge Charger with the 426 V8 Hemi engine. I always wanted one of those. Since it’s unlikely I’ll ever have one, I’ll happily settle for Spiders instead. They’re just as robust, energetic and full of excitement.

The band is from Sweden but they couldn’t be a Swedish car. Volvos and Saabs are much too restrained. No, they’d be a muscle car upgraded with ABS breaking, modern suspension and all the other automotive tricks. The interior would be plush and fresh. The car would gleam with a dazzling new paint job.

That pretty much describes Spiders’ music, actually. It’s terrifically melodious retro-rock fronted by a dynamo named Ann-Sofie Hoyles. The songs resonate with the sound of ’70s classic rock and ’80s hard rock. Shake Electric isn’t an exercise in sentimental nostalgia, though. Like the modified Dodge Charger I don’t have, the music is as modern as you’d want it to be under the retro paintwork.

Where would you go to have fun with Spiders? To a street party, I reckon. They are a cross-over band in several dimensions. First, there is no gender gap anywhere on the album. The music should appeal equally to old geezers like me and the newest generation of hard rock and heavy metal fans. Second, there isn’t a genre label that completely fits the music. It ranges from rockers that Heart, Bad Company or Free would have been happy to record, to the kind of heavier pop-metal that has won Spiders a supporting role in gigs and on tours with monster bands including Metallica, Kvertelak and Graveyard. Third, Shake Electric can be for listening when you’re alone, in a crowd or, maybe best of all, as happy, bouncy, catchy driving music. You can soak it up while you relax or dance away to it. No matter if you want to shake, rawk, mosh, do your shambling version of a club dance or grab your partner for a quickstep, this music is suitable for all of those styles.

The vocal style of Ann-Sofie Hoyles is very much in the vein of Heart’s Ann Wilson. There ain’t nuttin’ wrong with that! She not only has a similarly powerful voice and delivery, she also sounds like she’s having a heck of a lot of fun while she’s doing it.

The musos in Spiders are all highly skilled. All of them contributed to the songwriting. None of them tries to push to the front. They clearly place heavy emphasis on cohesion and collective force, not egos. Guitarist John Hoyles gets those chunka-chunka hard rock guitar riffs flowing, then switches sweetly into short solos that set up harmonic vibrations in my internal stringing. Olle Griphammar on bass reads the mood of every track excellently and translates it into the appropriate harmonies and counterpoints with the main melody lines. On drums, Ricard Harryson is old-school, which is just as much of a good thing as Ann-Sofie’s voice is for the band. If you listen specially to his performance, he’s not just keeping a beat, he’s playing lovely little drum solos in the process (and not a single blast beat).

The promo notes that came with the review album mention that guitar, bass, drums and vocals were all recorded live, requiring no more than a few takes to make everything sound good. The notes add that this proves the value of pouring countless days into doing live shows, which adds a special feeling of togetherness. That togetherness is highly evident on Shake Electric. The studio performances are all tight and cohesive while at the same time creating a sense that these guys could break into an equally tight jamming session any time they felt like it.

The production and engineering are top-notch. The music deserves that sort of technical quality behind the pleasure of the songs. I’d highly recommended Spiders to any rock or metal fan who wants something new and different that also embodies so much goodness from the legacy of rock.

My rating: 8/10

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