Razorcake Records is back with the next in the Sister Series and here, they pair up two bands that are both similar and dissimilar to each other. Both The Mind Spiders and Lenguas Largas have a sound that is quite light and airy, easy to listen to and if one were to choose a season to describe the musical output of a band, then both would be a mix of spring and summer. However, despite those similarities which allow for this pairing to work so well, it's the fact that both bands are generally quite different that makes this release work so well. This also ensures that given each band covers a track that the other has written, it will make for an interesting outcome.
The Mind Spiders, originally a solo project for The Marked Men's Mark Ryan which is now operating as a more fleshed out lineup, have quite an '80s new wave/pop-punk quality which relies on some old school synth sound to propel the songs. Beginning with a cover of Lenguas Largas' "Entity Me," the Mind Spiders have drenched the song in their own sound and almost made the track their own. This song really highlights the use of synths/keyboards in the band's work, as they drive the song along nicely. "Long Time Ago" takes a more jangly guitar path, with catchy hints of Ramones at times which helps make it the highlight of the Mind Spiders' side. That's not to put down "Dark Side," which on the opening ten seconds or so reminds me of the Chandeli'ers with quite a warm guitar tone, along with a relaxed drum beat making me want to shuffle my feet around a bit.
Lenguas Largas are a different beast altogether, in that the music is quite chilled and even though a wide range of adjectives have been applied to the band, it's safer to round it all up under the banner of 'indie' music, but with a huge caveat being that it doesn't suck (nothing wrong with indie music, but a lot of it does plainly suck). I had recently heard Lenguas Largas's debut album and it didn't do a whole lot for me, but on this release I find the tracks easier to digest, perhaps down to the fact that there's less of them and one is a cover, so I'm guessing a revisit to that self-titled long player is on the cards. The opener, "Si es Sierto," is quite a dreamy, minimalist tune which displays an almost horizontal, laid-back approach that I imagine is required in the heat of the band's home town of Tucson, AZ. Listening to this makes me picture myself in my backyard, sitting in the sun with an ice cold beer in hand as this song sends cooling Latin aural waves into my head, helping me from overheating (bearing in mind I'm writing this as I'm freezing my ass off, it sounds like something to look forward to).
The cover of the Mind Spiders' "Worlds Destroyed" is a more up-tempo effort, with vocals being somewhat hidden in the mix and adding a haunting quality to the song, making it for the cooler evening when one wants to start moving their feet a bit after a few of those cold beers during the warmer part of the day. "Not July High" is an odd track, again featuring vocals that are low in the mix but it still manages to convey an enjoyable warm and fuzzy feeling.
I thank Lenguas Largas for taking me away from both my hometown (Newport, Wales) and my current residence (Plymouth, England), two of the wettest cities in the UK, to a warmer climate, even if it is only in my mind.
Overall, I'd say Mind Spiders has the best song across the records with "Long Time Ago" although Lenguas Largas just about edge this series by having more of an impact on me. It must be noted that both bands deserve a lot of credit for their cover versions as both are extremely well done.
Finally, the artwork for both these releases (see END NOTE) is exceptional. Somehow both covers fit in perfectly with the feeling these records provide.
END NOTE: This is a review of two 7-inch singles which are released and sold as a pair by Razorcake, hence the combined review. The intention is for future releases under the Sister Series banner to be sold individually.