Mind Spiders – Meltdown

January 01, 1970





The Mind Spiders started spinning a couple of years ago,
when Mark Ryan’s Marked Men compadre Jeff Burke left for Japan, effectively ending one of Texas’ best garage rock
bands. Ryan had plenty to do, with at least part time duties in a slew of other
outfits – Wax Museums, Bad Sports, High Tension Wires, etc. – but he started
Mind Spiders as an outlet for his more personal, four-tracked material. The
self-titled debut was more or less a solo effort, dragging in band mates from
Wax Museums and Bad Sports in for cameos, but largely conceived in solitude. With
Meltdown, Ryan expands on his
tuneful, new-wave-into-bubblegum aesthetic with a full band, a killer band, in
fact, with two drummers (Mike Throneberry from the Marked Men and Greg Rutherford
from The High Tension Wires) and a wonderfully wandering, psychedelic keyboard.


Side one of Meltdown busts down the barricades with hard-hitting, melodic pop-punk, jacked to the
nines on straight up drums and scrubbed out guitar chords. Ryan’s high,
tremulous voice is a dead ringer for Jay Reatard’s, especially on spook-haunted
“You Are Dead” and, like Reatard, ranges all over the power pop map. Power
chorded, palm-muted anthem “Beat” is still ringing in your ears when twitchy,
thrashy “On the Radio” comes along, and this too has hardly had a chance to die
down when Ryan switches to the soft psychedelic whispers of “More Than You.” And
this is the easy, straightforward side. Things turn even weirder in the second
half, as new wave keyboards and dystopian futurism come to the front. “Skull
Eyed” and “Join Us Now” are infectiously paranoid, their roller-rink
tunefulness sped up and topped with cartoon angst. The title track closes the
disc out in its longest, most freeform cut, a drum machine keeping time as
keyboards burble and yelp and drone.   


Mind Spiders sits on a Buzzcockian knife edge between pop
hummability and punk attack, a place that not too many bands try to inhabit
anymore. The band is, perhaps, not quite as mental as Reatard (though the
keyboards make the band sound a good bit like Jay’s Lost Sounds), not as goofy
as the Wax Museums, not as righteously hard-assed as the Marked Men.  Still if you like good tunes cranked up on
pogo beats, you can hardly do better than Meltdown. At least until Ryan starts
another band…which should happen before you finish reading this review.


DOWNLOAD: “Beat” “Skull Eyed” “Join Us Now” JENNIFER KELLY


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