Fay Wolf, who doubles as a TV actress and a singer/songwriter/pianist, makes her full-length debut with Spiders following her 2009 EP Blankets. Wolf writes and sings melancholy romantic ballads, her throaty alto floating over piano-based pop/rock arrangements in a style strongly reminiscent of Tori Amos. "I think we fall in and outta love easy," she declares in "Easy," and she demonstrates that opinion repeatedly, as her first-person narrator addresses ex-lovers in songs like "See Monkey" ("I made you a set of keys/Then I broke up with you") and "Backstage Girl" ("Can you start to tell the world/I wasn't just your backstage girl/I threw you off in better days/A forever love that never came"). Wolf sometimes shows perspective on her favorite character, asking in "Mine," "So, what's in store for our heroine?" But her real escape from melancholy lies in her luxuriating in her own music, repeating phrases over and over as she plays attractive piano chords under them to create a hypnotic effect. She may be ruminating about loves that didn't work out, but this is comfort music that soothes both singer and listener, assuaging the hurt even as Wolf indulges her feelings.
by William Ruhlmann