Dan Webb and the Spiders hail from Boston, Mass. There’s nothing audible that would immediately make you think that’s where they come from; in fact, listening to this album provides one with little in the way of clues as to their origins. (The band’s bio makes much of their Boston roots and connections, but I’m not sure if it helps give much other than some background to the members of the band.)
What you do get from Dan Webb and the Spiders is a sort of punk/alternative, lo-fi fuzzed up sound that is easy to listen to, carrying very little abrasion (musically) to it but with huge chunks of melody throughout. With fuzzy/distorted vocals, Dan Webb has been accused of sounding like J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr) and whilst there is no doubt that on occasions there is a resounding similarity, it’s not one that pervades the whole album as some have claimed of previous works.
The music has the dual qualities of being tight but also having a looseness that gives it a more DIY/playing in a small house show sort of sound. The songs are catchy with the excellent “Everyone I Know”, remarkably, reminding me a little bit of 30 Foot Fall, who are in no way like Dan Webb and the Spiders but give you an idea of their potential "catchiness." This is my favourite track on the album and the one that sticks in my mind long after the record ends, but other up-tempo songs “Brother” and “Sicker” also have that ability to keep gnawing away in my head.
There is nothing groundbreaking here, nor really should we expect there to be. Rock’n’roll/punk/etc. are genres where it takes a lot to truly stand out as innovative these days, but there is nothing wrong in treading paths that have been worn down over the years in an attempt to produce something that is enjoyable and catchy, however it might sound. Sometimes that is all I want from a band and this lot manage to do it quite easily.
Dan Webb and the Spiders have produced an album that is a good listen and will occasionally have you singing along to songs as you break out the air guitar for a couple of riffs here and there. There’s a distinctly laid-back feel of rabble-rousing here, along with a hint of country (“28 Years”) and even a moment that brings to mind a kind of sea shanty!
I reckon this is a band that could also end up doing most, if not all, of these songs on an acoustic basis and they’d be well worth watching, almost as much as if they were fully plugged in.
As a final note, I have now heard that Dan Webb and the Spiders will be playing here in Plymouth (UK) in a month’s time, so that’s one Saturday night out planned for me.