Dark, smoky and bitterly haunted, Spencer Robinson and The Wolf Spiders’ Beneath the Surface is a straight swig of whiskey on a broken-hearted night.
After playing bass for The Lords of Altamont for five years, Robinson struck out on his own and this intense, grit-filled portrait of adult frustrations and burned-out desires is the first full-length to come out of his solo endeavor.
With a gravel and bourbon-soaked voice that is reminiscent of Mark Lanegan, Spencer easily conveys betrayal, lust and mischievousness all across the album (sometimes he can communicate all three simultaneously). The wonderfully grimy instrumentation on every track is the perfect accompaniment to Spencer’s troubled vocals.
The sound of the Wolf Spiders is somewhere between the darker edges of psychedelic garage rock like The Seeds, the grungy guitar work of Tonight’s The Night-era Neil Young and the early acid-blues rock material by The Black Angels. A great example of this blend is the jagged “Killer On The Farm Tonight.” This track sways with a stoned, late night barroom swagger while the guitar goes from a hint of psych-blues straight to sounding like Old Shakey himself has jumped in to cut a solo.
The final track, “Teenage Supernova,” is the real showstopper here though. Thunderous psychedelic guitars moan and shriek behind Robinson’s doomy, nearly spoken vocal, which all together gives the album a proper climax of a closer. Play this one very loud.
Moody, reckless and magnificent, Beneath the Surface is the rockin’ dirge that you need for blasting out what is left of the 2018 winter.
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