Montreal-based group explores the sonic terrain of Radiohead before the latter became ok with computers.
Our Friend & the Spiders play a very specific brand of guitar-dominated rock, one that hearkens back in an appealing manner to the latter half of the ‘90s, exploring the sonic wake of The Bends and its brethren. Throughout, intricate, compelling instrumental interplay swirls about, creating big hooks and grandiose indie rock statements with plenty of emotional heft. The twining guitars create cascading walls of sound that serve as an ideal platform for the accent-tinged vocals that can be occasionally off-putting in their often-interesting syllabic handling.
This aside, each of the tracks here swings for the fences, creating unabashedly grandiose statements in a guitar rock tradition that has essentially fallen by the wayside over the last several decades. While not always hitting their marks or creating a distinct musical identity, tracks like “Let’s Celebrate”, “Escape” and “Ma Bulle” (the only non-English track on the album), show Our Friend & the Spiders capable of crafting an enjoyable release for those who like their indie rock heavy on the guitars and pleasantly familiar. And just for good measure, the one-two conclusion of “Giant Hand”/”Giant End”, flowing seamlessly from one to the next, relies on NWOBHM-style guitars and a propulsive, driving beat as it races to the line. Not a bad way wrap things up on this short and sweet release.