Everyone is using strobe lights at their shows. Seriously. From Van Halen to The Flaming Lips, just about every concert venue posts little warnings at their entrances about the effects of strobes and its potential damage to particular human brains. Sensory overload and what not. That is the very sensation you get from listening to Mind Spiders’ new record, Meltdown. Sensory overload without the hospital bills and you can walk around after listening without too many pesky aftershocks, unless you had those headphones turned up too loud. Mark Ryan’s outfit now comes equipped with not-a-one, but two drummers, and enough keyboard layered above, under, and all around those surf-rock guitars to satisfy any fan of pop punk.
The lo-fi quality of the vocals may recall early Guided by Voices, but the speed-kills dynamic of lead track “You Are Dead” and “On the Radio” bring back the memories of the late, great Ramones. However, before you can pigeonhole Mind Spiders into late ’70s punk, keyboards arrive straight out of Question Mark and The Mysterians’ “96 Tears” in the form of “More Than You”. Ryan shifts effortlessly between genres and backbeats, building the songs from chug-along sing-alongs to synth-driven tracks that make up most of the second act. “Upside Down” through the title track are a bit darker, proving the long lost art of album sequencing is still important to the outcome of a solid record. Do not shuffle Meltdown, and you will be rewarded.
The aforementioned title track is the only instrumental, and serves as a kind of credit sequence as we try to get over the controlled madness we just heard. Like Cloud Nothings’ Attack on Memory earlier this year, Mind Spiders’ Meltdown offers upbeat rock n’ roll in a short amount of time, with moments to breathe here and there, but ultimately leaves you breathless. Now, if we can only get Ryan’s band and Dylan Baldi’s group to tour together…
Essential Tracks: “You Are Dead”, “More Than You”, and “Wait for Us”