Dan Webb And The Spiders - Now It Can Be Told (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Dan Webb And The Spiders

Now It Can Be Told (2014)

Safe Responsible Records

Dan Webb and The Spiders might have been quiet on the album front since the 2011 release of Much Obliged, other than a re–release of the band's Oh Sure long player in 2012 but that's not to say they've been sat back twiddling their thumbs. In the intervening years, the band has been involved in a few 7–inch releases, one of which was a one band effort and two were splits. As part of a two–album release, the other being an acoustic collection of songs, Now It Can Be Told brings together all of the DWATS tracks, 13 in all, from those 7–inch records along with three tracks that were included for the first time on the Oh Sure reissue.

Where the earlier albums were heavy on the fuzzed guitar and had a sort of '90s feel that occasionally brought to mind Dinosaur Jr., there certainly seems to be a bit of a shift in the sound of DWATS on the majority of these songs. Dan Webb's vocals, whether natural or otherwise via some recording trickery, are distinctive and a major part of what I like about the band. Add to that the ability to write some catchy indie–ish, punkish tunes and the end result is damned entertaining.

I'll admit it took me a couple of plays before I was hooked into this but I can pinpoint the time that finally I put it on and the intro to the opening track "The Neighborhood" (one of the non–7–inch tracks) thrust its way into my head and got me all hopped up and ready to succumb to the whole record. I find it hard to actually compare this band to others that are, or have been, around now although I'm open to suggestions and therein lies another reason why I like DWATS so much – it's really good to listen to a band and not be reminded of other artists. Yes, there is one song, "On Fire", where I think that someone has thrown The Clash and Buddy Holly into a recording studio together but on the whole I can listen to this album and let myself not get caught up in comparisons.

Across the album there are a number of true gems ("Long Years" and "Hopelessbackandfourth" are exceptional songs) in addition to the tracks previously mentioned above, all displaying a relatively basic sound which is able to ‘rock' in what seems like a relaxed and laid–back way. It's not only Webb's vocals that help aid this sense of calm as the musical accompaniment is modest and unhurried without causing the tracks to come across as sparse and/or lacking in energy. I must clarify this statement by reiterating that this album does rock so it's certainly got energy, in fact it's got bags of it, but DWATS apply it in a way that seems effortless. It would be so easy for the band to go into a studio and overdo a recording to the point that it loses its sense of being but here it's as if there is an acknowledgement that less is, so frequently, more without there actually being less!

For information, the splits that have had DWATS tracks culled from were with Irish Handcuffs and Beach Party and these are worth picking up in their own right as is the non–split single. In fact just buy everything this band has released.

Note: If possible I would have given this 8.5/10 (which the Punknews Ratings Converter Software would translate into 4.25 stars) but that's not possible.