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Spiders and Snakes | Melodrama | review | rock | Lollipop

Spiders and Snakes

Melodrama (Sansei/Corporate Punishment)
By Scott Hefflon

This is a tough one to judge as-is, seeing as the history of the band under different names (Sister and the infamous L.A. "rock star training school" band, London) included members such as W.A.S.P.'s Blackie Lawless, Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sikk, G'N'R's Slash, Izzy, and Steven Adler, Fred Coury of Cinderella, and Nigel Benjamin of Mott the Hoople. And the list goes on, boom boom da boom. If yer looking for proof, Spiders and Snakes' singer Lizzie Grey co-wrote the Crüe classic "Public Enemy #1" off Too Fast for Love. What have YOU ever done, poser? Melodrama includes a sweet cover of Bay City Rollers' "Yesterday's Hero" featuring Oingo Boingo sax player Sluggo, all three members take lead vocals at some point on the album, and the moods range from '70s glam pop (Bowie, etc.) to '80s well-crafted pop rock (Cheap Trick), to late '80s hair band strut (take yer pick). The band was after a Kiss/Alice Cooper mix of heavy rock and power ballads, hence name Melodrama. To say they succeeded is an understatement. Not too gush too much, but the songcraft here is stellar, on top of varied. What hair band would take time away from photoshoots to knock out a cover of "Dream a Little Dream" that Queen would've approved of? The couple ballads aren't the pandering, simplistic cheese of Crüe's "Home Sweet Home," they're full-on melancholy/longing like Bowie's "Space Oddity" ("this is Ground Control to Major Tom"). That's depth Jimmy Eat World/Plain White T's can only dream of expressing, and even veterans like Bon Jovi and Aerosmith haven't written a non-cheese slice of pure heartache in, dunno, ages.

Anyone who thinks '70s glam stinks of nostalgia, this breathes. Anyone who thinks '80s hard rock was trite ballads and empty/short-lived swagger, you're right. Ahem, but Spiders and Snakes grew up without laming out, learned to pens songs that make your chest tighten, and don't preach or brag. An exceptional and timeless rock record.


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