Mind Spiders


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Mark Ryan and his bandmates in the Mind Spiders (Daniel Fried, Gregory Rutherford, and Mike Throneberry) seemed to have developed a powerful case of New Wave Nostalgia on 2013's Inhumanistic, as their growing fondness for clunky-sounding old synths recalled the electronic side of the era of skinny ties. But three years later, the Mind Spiders have absorbed and refined their influences enough that 2016's Prosthesis sounds less like an homage to past sounds and more like a group finding its true, slightly sinister voice. The soaring, buzzy synth and jagged guitar figures on the opening track, "Rip It Out," and the disquieting pulse of the sequencer on track two, "No Filter," lead off the album on an ominous note, as the music emerges from the maelstrom on the wings of a cheap electronic keyboard and battered six-strings. On their previous albums, the Mind Spiders used guitars and electronics as if they were different lobes of the brain, but Prosthesis finds both sides working in sync along with Ryan's coolly melodramatic vocals, and the simplicity of the guitar and keyboard lines boosts the drama of the performances, leaving just enough space for the dynamics to really mean something. And Ryan's tunes are often skeletal, but they sure sink their hooks in, and the subtle but unrelenting build of "Cold" and the title track brings the songs to an explosive climax. Prosthesis doesn't bring a great deal of new colors and textures to the Mind Spiders' music, but in terms of execution, this is a confident and accomplished step forward, and this sounds like the group's best and most powerful work to date.

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