Sunday, February 15

spider and the flies: SOMETHING CLOCKWORK THIS WAY COMES

SPIDER AND THE FLIES
SOMETHING CLOCKWORK THIS WAY COMES (MUTE IRREGULARS)

What happens when you take two young men best known for their lurid garage punk, bowl-cuts, and enormous record collections, introduce them to the man responsible for songs called ‘Metal Fingers In My Body’ and ‘Lick A Battery’, and put them all in a room full of analogue synthesizers? It could have been a catastrophe, but Spider and the Flies have sidestepped the snares in two ways: firstly, they’ve got the variety that comes from touching base with electronic pioneers from Delia Derbyshire to Giorgio Moroder, meaning that Something Clockwork This Way Comes avoids the trap of repetitiveness; secondly, there’s the charming conceit which projects Tom Cowan and Rhys Webb into a sonic sci-fi universe.

Musically, the controls are set to paradox. There’s an emphasis on atmosphere: ‘Million Volt Light’ is a throbbing surge-and-meander soundscape which resembles old-school Doctor Who incidental music, while ‘Space Walking’ does what it says on the tin with a drifting Kraftwerk lilt. ‘Desmond Leslie’, meanwhile, is a discordant noise collapse which gradually crescendos into a synthesised blast-off. On the other hand, this isn’t as esoteric an exercise as it could well have been: ‘Autochrome’ mingles acid house and italo disco with Kraftwerk (again) into an instantly danceable standout track, while 2007’s single ‘Metallurge’ is a hook-laden Radiophonic bop.

The triumph of the whole release is that the atmospheric and the melodic are balanced skilfully enough that neither is overbearing: in ‘Jungle Planet’, a rhythmic jaunt through robotic wildlife is rudely interrupted by a seductively distorted synth line, while ‘Teslabeat’’s delicate arpeggios find their home among dissonant rasps. Whether Something Clockwork This Way Comes is a signpost to the sound of the forthcoming Horrors album is yet to be seen, but Messrs Webb & Cowan can rest assured that they’ve created a rare beast: a genuinely interesting side project.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

You'd think with all that gear that they'd come up with something decent. Daphne Oram would be offended.

Anonymous said...

fuck off stupid anon! Spider and the Flies is awesome

Anonymous said...

Spider and the Flies is one the best electronic albums of the last few years, They offer craft and imagination , which are two things that are often missing in todays establishment electronic music.