Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Unnecessary distortion covers up quality sound from Dan Webb and The Spiders

November 20, 2009

Dan Webb and The Spiders have put forth a new album that hints of greatness underneath layers of unnecessary mudding and distortion.   Released in fall 2009, The self titled album features 9 tracks that take the listener on a roller coaster ride of catchy vs. unmemorable.   The sound ranges from that of garage punk to California beach-rock.  Though the band is Boston-based, they have an appeal that resembles the “west coast sound” often featured on teen shows like The OC (rip).  Think Nada Surf meets garage punk and seasoned with an extra helping of distortion.

The album opens with “The Fall of ‘08,” which does not do justice to the skill and catchiness executed on some of the following tracks.  The listeners should skip right to “All I Want” and “In the Light.”   Both will leave you tapping your foot and rolling the windows down.

In general, the vocals, often the back-ups, are sometimes unbearably pitchy.  However, this seems to be more of a creative choice than a lack of skill.  Perhaps the band was aiming for the offbeat appeal.  The unfortunate part is that when the vocals do actually hit the key, they are quite nice.  If the band played to their strengths and didn’t cover up the vocals with distortion and layers of unnecessary back-up tracks, the quality would be appealing to an audience beyond the head-banging kids who don’t care about pitch or tone.

Written and performed by Dan Webb himself, the album is quality for a one man band.  He shows talent as a writer and an ear for catchy tunes. Dan Webb and The Spiders are truly just a hop, skip and a jump away from reaching the next level.  In fact, that sound is already there, just hidden beneath quality-weakening garage band characteristics.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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