Concise & Sinister by Spider Kitten

Release date: April 13, 2018
Label: self-released

Over the last ten years, Newport psych doom band Spider Kitten have released an impressive amount of full lengths, EPs and singles (some released as alter ego band Kitten Youth) and gained a well deserved and growing reputation as a formidable live act. The band’s latest release Concise & Sinister seems like a culmination of all that has gone before, in that it has to be most eclectic release that the band have ever done. One thing remains the same though, in amongst the eclecticism, it’s still as heavy as ever, in many different ways and it is those different ways that makes this such a special listen.

Concise & Sinister is only four tracks but it is a sprawling mass of weighty and trippy ideas, well executed riffs and psychedelic savagery bookended by two tracks, ‘A Glorious Retreat’ and ‘Martyrs Breath’ that can only be described as monolithic.

‘A Glorious Retreat’ starts things off with a lurching, gothic groove that is reminiscent of a meeting between The Birthday Party and Swans with singer Chi Lameos wails soaring over the aural madness that the rest of band create. A wail of feedback in the middle of the song recalls the power of Neurosis and the results are just as intense as the crawling riffs and eerie synths power through the remainder of the song, only stopping as the song reaches its atmospheric and triumphant conclusion.

Following such an epic beginning is a difficult task, such is the effectiveness of that track so Spider Kitten throw in what would be a curveball in the hands of most other bands, but in their hands it makes perfect sense, in the form of a Hank Williams cover, ‘Alone & Forsaken’.

This song, which has been previously covered by everyone from Social Distortion to the Mekons to Neko Case and Neil Young is delivered hauntingly by the band, stripped down to its bare bones and achingly beautiful in its execution. Over sparse guitar, Lameo channels the spirit of Williams original but retains the Spider Kitten feel with the effect of a non aural heaviness lingering in the air.

They change it up again with the visceral ‘I’m Feeling So Much Better’, a track written and featuring vocals by ex Medulla Nocte/Murder One and current Barrabus man and all round UK Underground legend Paul Catten who delivers a whirlwind performance on a song that flies by in a cacophony of noise and anger.

The mesmerising combination of atmospheric synths and sludgey riffs on ‘Martyrs Breath’ concludes matters on Concise & Sinister in an impressive fashion. As the lurching riffs collide with pounding rhythms, the melancholic vocals simply soar and despite the doom laden vibe, it feels like a victory march, such is its victorious feel, albeit one with a moodily psychedelic closure.

Concise & Sinister is yet another reason why Spider Kitten are rightfully revered and has to be the band’s most accomplished and well executed material yet with the variety and delivery of the bands music here demonstrating how great a band they are.

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