Share DOWN TO KILL – Neurotic Spiders (Nicotine Records)
Let’s start at the beginning. Can you guys do something about your name? Whilst the general public will accept bands who bandy adjectives such as “psychotic”, “revolting” and “vile” in front of their noun of choice, no-one wants their rock gods to be neurotic. Neurotic is what housewives used to be when they ran out of Bex powder. Guys, we can take our spiders lime but not anxious.

Everything you need to know about Tokyo's Neurotic Spiders can be heard by listening to track 11 of this disc, a cover version of Radio Birdman’s “Dark Surprise.” Clearly, their hearts are in the right place (on their collective sleeves). They don’t add anything to the song nor do they live up to it. Imagine a world where cover bands played Birdman at your local. You recognise the tune. You pat the boys on the back for giving it a go. You, perhaps, even like them enough to buy them a beer.

Instead of a beer, I’m going to offer advice. There is nothing wrong with this band that a little stretch of the imagination will not sort out. Far too many people have already been Down to Kill in this business as it is. This band needs to develop a little personality of its own. They have to stop trying to find cool in other people’s hard rock clichés. They have to listen to a few pop records.

Let me tell you a story. I like to keep reviews to five hundred words and I’ve only written two hundred so far. I have some space to fill. When I was sixteen I skipped school and went up to the Funhouse to see the Hellcats. The Psycho Surgeons were playing the next night but had decided to re-name the joint the Slaughterhouse for the occasion. Well, that sounded like fun. Birdman’s manager George Kringas offered me a floor for the night so I wouldn’t have to go back to Wollongong in between. That Saturday afternoon, Birdman were rehearsing and George dragged me along. Now you’re saying to yourself, wow. This is the stuff of perfect rock and roll weekends but I’m going to tell you that is not yet the point of my story.

Before Birdman rehearsed, they played a few records. After a couple of sixties singles, they played side one of the MC5’s High Time because they were going to try “Sister Anne”. Deniz had bought in a copy of the then new "Trans Europe Express" by Kraftwerk and everyone listened in amazement to Teutonic minimalism in action. Finally they put "James Brown Live at the Apollo" on just to put them in a good mood before playing. To me, this was the eye opener. These guys scoured the Earth to find what was cool. It was a lesson I never forgot.

Well, Neurotic Spiders, what is the moral here? Okay, let me tell you. You can be blown away by guys playing power chords or you can cast your net a little wider. Lock yourselves away somewhere with a copy of Nuggets, a Motown compilation and the complete works of the Monkees. Place a large picture of Debbie Harry on the wall and worship her. After you have totally assimilated the concept of pop, come back and make the great album you should then be capable of. You don’t have to lose the power chords and riffs; you just have to tame them with melody.

Remember this one last thing; it is far cooler to have three girls dancing in front of you than three hundred drunken blokes. Think about that and tell me if I’m wrong. - Bob Short

 

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