Sure, The Pink Spiders might be "fashionable" with their hot pink and black clothes and big pink sunglasses, but what about their music? Does it suffer the same fate as the music of many other "fashionable" bands? The answer is no, their strange apparel seems to be just an extension to their name while not compromising the quality of their music. Now, anybody who has heard the single "Little Razorblade" might just dismiss these guys as another Sugarcult rip-off, but, while bearing some likeness to Sugarcult, the band is much more than just that. The Pink Spiders are:
Matt Friction: Vocals/Guitar
Jon Decious: Bass
Bob Ferrari: Drums.
Now, most people are going to say that "image conscious bands just have to suck, that's all there is to it." Well, then I say to most people, listen to The Pink Spiders.
Musicianship: Guitar: Well, there is only one guitarist listed among the three band members that make The Pink Spiders, so Matt just has to be layering the guitar work, as there seems to be lead and rhythm guitars at several points on the album. "Soft Smoke" is a prime example of this possibility, as the song starts out with a very rock 'n' roll like intro consisting an excellent lead and power chord rhythm backing it up. Another place where this layering occurs is the single "Little Razorblade". Besides the fact that these songs might feel a little empty during a live show, the guitar work is great. Several different guitar effects are used throughout the album, a favorite of mine being the weird little breakdown in "Little Razorblade". Sure, there are plenty of power chord, palm muted verses, but what would punk be without that? The fact that there is some great lead work more than makes up for the typical punk guitar. On a few occasions, Matt even puts out a quick solo, nothing too impressive, but sufficient to keep the album interesting. The most talent showcased by Matt would be the excellent, fast solo in the song "Nobody Baby" and the classic rockish solo of "Easy Way Out". For pop punk, the guitar work is above average and manages to keep the album interesting.
Bass: Well, sadly, the bass is almost never heard. I guess it isn't the biggest letdown ever though, as the bassist isn't that great. I'm not saying that he is without talent, but not a lot of it. The only real time that the bass is even heard is the intro to "Modern Swinger", and it is both slow and boring. Typical for a pop-punk release, the bass is drowned out far too often.
Drums: The drums are basically used for nothing more than keeping a dance-like beat to the songs. Very rarely will Bob do a fill or roll. "Modern Swinger" is pretty much the only song that Bob does something interesting. The booklet for the album calls Bob the "worlds greatest drummer", but he either is holding back a lot or the band has never heard of the drummer for The Agony Scene, because Bob is actually pretty boring behind the set.
Other Stuff: There is a piano featured throughout "Adalae", but it is painfully simple and seems to just be there to change things up a bit. "Adalae" also has a short bit of violin or something as well, which is a surprise, yet this instrument doesn't do much for the song.
Vocals: Matt is a good vocalist, but a very limited range. Now, what makes Matt a good vocalist is the fact that he knows his range and he doesn't push it. His voice can range from smooth and poppy to hoarse and very rockish, which is quite unique among today's music scene. His poppy moments include "Little Razorblade", "Still Three Shy", and the very poppy "Adalae", while his more rock vocals come in on the rebellious "Soft Smoke", "Easy Way Out", Saturday Nite Riot", and "Nobody Baby". His voice fits extremely well with the music. Another great thing about Matt's voice is the fact that he is from Nashville and doesn't have that horrible southern accent.
Lyrics: This is possibly the best thing about The Pink Spiders. They have some good lyrics. Sure, they might be terrible to some, but to others, these are excellent lyrics considering the genre that the band is in. Lyrics can be clever:
"Yeah, My baby's pretty as a car crash
Sexy as the stinger of a hornet in your arm
Just another modern swinger
Screaming "Catch me if you can"
With a cigarette in hand this is love"
They can be rebellious:
"We'll sleep on subways, we'll spend time in cafes
These pretty girls and these Manhattan apartments
These New York City police are all f***in' liars"
"Hey hey little razorblade
Girl you're so so serious
You're only pretty when you walk away
And you act oblivious"
"'Cause I heard about the party last night
I heard that there were drugs and fist fights"
"...Now I'm drinking at the blackjack table..."
"Still Three Shy"
And, typically, loving:
"Adalae, your every moment is a masterpiece"
Matt, depending on your lyrical liking, can either be a good or bad lyricist.
Impression: The Pink Spiders have a rather unique sound for today, when every band sounds like Fall Out Boy, The Pink Spiders mix classic punk, rock 'n' roll, powerpop, and pop-punk. This album is full of youthful energy and is extremely catchy. Every song has the capability to stick in your head all day. The songs are very good though, so it's almost a treat to have the same song repeat in your head over and over again. The Pink Spiders aren't for everyone, though. They are at time poppy, then punkish, then rock-like, and then, occasionally, have a very 80's like feel. For any fan of pop punk, I say pick up this album, there is nothing to regret here.