Will this be the album where Chapel Hill’s SPIDER BAGS finally get the recognition they deserve? It’s hard to think they couldn’t with such an ambitious offering like Shake My Head, their third full length album from the Odessa Records label in North Carolina.
Shake My Head is driven by a “fuck it, let’s do this” sort of mentality, which makes for plenty of solid, heart-stopping rock & roll anthems that always manage to overshadow the brutally honest and sad tone of Dan McGee’s lyrics. Most – if not all – of the alt-country twang from past efforts is traded in for a grandiose rock & roll sound, bringing down the house with lethal onslaughts like “Keys to the City,” “Friday Night” and “Standing on a Curb.” Aside from that, there are some less exhilarating dirges, like the dark and noisy “Daymare,” “The Moon is a School Girl” and the lazy swagger of “Shawn Cripps Boogie.” Despite their dreary nature, this three song punch makes up a hell of a finish for the epic album.
Epic is a word I use sparingly, but you must give credit where credit is due – this album is epic. Not many sing as honestly as McGee, which is evidenced in tracks like “I’ll Go Crazy” or “Daymare,” the latter of which is probably the closest we’ll ever get to A Celebration of Hunger-era Spider Bags. “The buildings are the bastards of the sky/ I got high/ I was born where the moonlight meets the sky” slurs McGee against a scratchy backdrop, using his catchy hooks to help seal up a track that is considerably haunting.
To try and wrap things up, alt-country alone doesn’t cut it anymore for the Bags. Then again, it’s all not totally out of their realm, but this record still offers a change of pace. Tracks like “Simona La Ramona” or “Quetzalcoatl Love Song” should help prove that, which offer a lighter pop edge that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from the Bags, making for a refreshing change-up in their growing discography.
If you find that the Bags are coming to your town, it’s worth every second to check them out. They came through Philadelphia in September and these videos show what you might encounter. Also be sure to listen to the these tracks below because you’ll be seeing this album again! And if you’re thinking you read this before it’s because it was originally posted on Get Bent.
My Rating: SS
Genre/ Tags: Punk, Alternative, Alt-Country
Shake My Head LP: Tracklist:
1.) Keys to the City
2.) Simona La Ramona
3.) Friday Night
4.) Shape I Was In
5.) I’ll Go Crazy
6.) Standing On a Curb
7.) Quetzalcoatl Love Song
8.) Shawn Cripps Boogie
10.) The Moon Is a School Girl
Spider Bags Live in Philadelphia (09/21/12)
Papa Was a Shithead 7″ (Sophomore Lounge)
Take It Easy Tonite 7″ (Churchkey)
Hey Delinquents 7″ (Daggerman)
A Celebration of Hunger (Birdman)