Instant Species - Robert The Bruces Spider
Not many albums manage to mix waltz-time ska, spaghetti western country and good old fashioned, head down guitar thrashing with such aplomb, which makes this, the sixth album from Yorkshire band Instant Species all the more interesting. Its not for nothing that the tale of Robert the Bruce and his spider is a story of endurance, patience and never giving up in the face of adversity, something they clearly have in spades.
Starting with the downright weird, effects heavy twiddling and guitar crashes (with a handful of ska thrown in) of A Warning From the Spider Men, things really get going with Waltz in a Minor, a song The Coral would be proud of. Heck, they'd sell their grannies for Poker Face, a mix of eccentric jittering that sounds like all the best Blur b-sides. Your Brother Harry takes an XTC approach, a no-nonsense post punk feel to a great song, taking things well into Love Hooks, which hits similar heights.
From track seven on though, things take a different slant, with an eye on the comedy - the sea shanty Men of the Sea, the Mexican stylings of Go To Your Grave, and Tax-Man-Funny-Man, shades of Topman by Blur, heavy on the ska. The winner in the comedy stakes though is clearly The Russian Bride, a song about a mail-order wife who turns out to be a KGB agent. Not the sort of thing you would expect Keane singing about, and whilst it may sound a little bit Barron Knights on paper, it is both funny and intelligent in equal measure.
This is a great little collection of songs, short and sweet, with plenty of good ideas and fine production throughout. Whilst almost unheard throughout the land, that hasn't stopped Instant Species putting together a fine collection of songs. They clearly love making music and the music they make, and long may that continue.
This album is available from their website, which you can visit by clicking here.