Even though my parents played folk bands for me when I was young, the first music I discovered on my own was pop-punk. I made it back to folk by listening to lots of pop-punk bands play acoustic songs, then moving on to singer/songwriters from there. So there’s always a sweet spot in my heart for pop-punk bands that break out the acoustic guitar. Dan Webb exactly fits that bill.
Webb usually fronts the pop-punk band Dan Webb and the Spiders, but for Eine Kleine Akustischmusik he lists his band as Dan Webb and a Spider. (Ha!) The recordings are simple: two guys with voices and acoustic guitars. There are occasional light overdubs (“Night Games,” “Long Years”). The whole 13-track thing was recorded in one (apparently quite long) night in a studio, giving it an earnest, raw feel without dipping too deeply into lo-fi. Webb’s high voice is complimented often by passionate high harmonies, which give a lot of energy to the tunes. As with anything that includes “punk band,” “one night” and “recordings” in the same sentence, these necessarily imperfect tunes have absolutely gorgeous, pure moments too. Sometimes those two things exist in the same song or phrase. It’s totally cool.
Opener “Texas” is the tune that most sounds like a singer/songwriter tune instead of a acoustic punk song; Webb’s vocal melodies fit beautifully over a lazy strum. “Fix This Place” also feels more like a singer/songwriter tune, as the somber guitar structures lend a gravitas to the tune. But just in case you worry that this is all introspective work, there is a song called “Astro Zombies.” It’s about zombies from outer space trying to exterminate humans. Yup.
If you’re into that particular style of acoustic music purveyed by pop-punkers taking a break from their regular style, Dan Webb and a Spider have got a treat for you. It will be interesting to see if Dan Webb keeps developing this songwriting style; there are some high highs that show up.