posted on 1/2007 By:
It seems likely that Spider Rockets is regarded as one kick-ass band in their local, or even regional, music scene. Ever After sounds very much like an album written and performed by a band of local heroes. There are a few notable things about this band, although they don’t do much to change the album’s net effect. The first thing to hit you right off the bat is the band’s hybrid style, combining hard rock, metal, with some alternative tendencies. The other notable thing is that Spider Rockets is fronted by a woman—something common in local bands, but unfortunately, much less so with national acts. Both of these factors make an impression, and should be strengths, but unfortunately Spider Rockets can’t parlay them into substantive gains. Ever After smacks of an album that will serve purely as a vehicle to further its creator’s local career, and have very little impact elsewhere.
Listening to frontwoman Helena Cos, one gets the feeling that she’s attacking these songs the way she would on stage. The result is that her performance feels dramatically (pun intended) oversold. Cos has a solid singing voice, but leans too heavily on emotive inflections and echo heavy multi tracking. I found myself willing her to stop cooing, sneering, and posturing and simply sing. Compounding this problem tremendously is the fact that her voice is way too high in the mix. The band delivers a utilitarian foundation of meat-and-potatoes heaviness, with little in the way of dynamics. This mix waters down their punch and furthers the sense that she’s up front doing back flips. Some of the vocal melodies also suffer from some questionable songwriting choices (the horrid "What I Want" being the most glaring example), but most of the complaints come from recording and performance issues. Many of the songs are decent enough, and as previously stated, bridge metal and hard rock styles, but at the end of the day don’t pack enough of a punch to make them memorable in any way, and most of them simply scroll by, like credits on a screen. The brightest spots on Ever After belong to two tracks on opposite ends of the heaviness spectrum, “Too Far” and “Reason for Deceit”. Both are short on histrionics and offer substantial depth of texture and approach. I could go on, but there’s probably no need. Suffice to say that standing, drink in hand, front and center in your favorite club, Spider Rockets may manage to make that cover of "Helter Skelter" sound a little less old hat, but outside of that, they need to get back to the drawing board.
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