Hello my pretties,
You can lay your worries to rest. I’m alive. I survived the brutal attack of university deadlines and fought off the army of assignments with minimal injuries. Primarily mentally inflicted scars, but hey I’ve never been the most sane creature. Thankfully. But I’m back (in black…oh come on you were all thinking it! And someone had to make the terribly cringe worthy remark…and that’s me all over!). There’s so much I wanted to tell you all, but due to uni I had to refrain from giving you insanely juicy details! So let me give you the short version:
· 1) Andy Black Live – no words. Unbelievable
· 2) The Great Escape – stepped up their game from last year. Unbelievable.
· 3) Slamdunk South Festival – Panic headlining! Unbelievable.
Even shorter version: unbelievable. Just the stress relief any music fanatic needs!
However today I am here to share another well-guarded secret. Not to dwell on the past. Everyone here knows my love for artists such as KISS; Mötley; Adam Ant; Poison. The endless list of Glam Rock, Sleaze Metal pioneers who aided my love for theatrics and wonderfully reckless skulduggery that accompanies it. Now everyone has specific little triggers that drive them from perfectly rational to giving a look that could send someone six feet under. One of mine being people constantly declaring that rock – specifically sleaze/glam – is dead. Gene Simmons (bassist and demon of KISS…for those less educated in this realm) being one of these blasphemers. But that’s another rant for another time. However I have living proof that this world is very much alive and thriving. Let me introduce to you Spyder Byte. Quintet hell-bent on vandalising the minds of this generation with sex, booze and rock ‘n’ roll just like their forefathers before them. I raise my glass to that. I know it’s a huge juxtaposition but I find there is something oddly innocent about that, compared to blunt and very realistic (in the sense of it insinuations being serious and that one has to ‘put out’ to please someone else) connotations within pop music, compared to the energetic, screw the rest we’ll do it our own way that Glam/Sleaze presents.
Geez, I’m highly aware I detoured this bus down bleak, solemn avenue. Let’s U-turn back shall we? Where was I? Oh yeah introductions are in order. Lovelies I’d like you to meet:
· – Daniel Lawrence – Vocals
· – C.C – Lead Guitar
· – Luke Naylar – Rhythm Guitar/Backing Vocals
· – Nathan Hammond – Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals
· – Connor Godfrey – Drums/Backing Vocals
Back in late 2015 the group released their debut album “Addictive”. The album’s just that. The only antidote being more and more and…you’ve got it….more. Who needs nicotine or whatever else the kids are into these days? This gives you a high like no other!
Let’s take a closer look shall we? Come on you know you want to! That’s it follow the breadcrumb trail, I promise you there’s no witch at the end. Only lil ol’ me. Hey! I heard that! I’d watch it if I was you I do have a few trick up my sleeve. Few spells I’ve been itching to try.
Okay. Moving swiftly on.
Track One: ‘Infestation’
The album opens with “Infestation” immediately starting on a high. A constant energy is emitted, something which is hard to maintain throughout an entire song at this velocity. However, Byte manage to maintain this with ease. Not floundering at any point. They strap the listener in for the time of their lives. They aren’t giving them up at the first stop. One particular element that struck me with this band is the vocalist. Typically in this genre (you’re going to hear me say that a lot so might as well start getting used to it) and any genre actually is how imperative the vocal is. One thing I have found with artists who attempt sleaze today is that the vocalist desperately tries to replicate what’s already been done. Usually failing. However, Lawrence manages to marry stereotypical conventions with his own grit and angst. If Olli Herman (Reckless Love) Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) and M. Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold) were to have a love child, Lawrence’s voice would be it!
Track Two: ‘Heartbreak Babe’
I immediately fell in love with this track! The guitar hook just has a mesmerising quality about it. What’s more, the catchy vocal demonstrates Lawrence’s true potential compared the first track. It’s as if they are slowly getting you addicted. Dragging you in. Making the taste linger. Leaving you begging for more. Thankfully, the track does not loose the high created in the opening song. Being a lyricist my attention is immediately drawn to lyrics first arrangement later. Like the pioneers their lyrics on the surface seem simplistic however they are cleverly written. A particular favourite of mine being “starry eyes, that hypnotise I get sucked into your lies” I don’t know why I just love lines like that. They aren’t complicated or intricate to confuse a listener, yet they insinuate so much more! If ‘Infestation’ didn’t have you hooked then this one definitely seals the deal.
Track Three: ‘In Your Face’
Interestingly, this track breaks the sleaze conventions formed, starting with drums rather than the complex guitars. Godfrey demonstrates his stamina as a drummer as the beat remains strong and constant. Not wavering at any point. Carrying forward the irrepressible drive and energy the band emit. What’s more, the build in the introduction illustrates ALL members’ technical abilities. Common thinking about glam and sleaze is that musicians take the “easy way out”. That is doesn’t require much thinking. However that isn’t the case at all. Personally I have found some of the most talented musicians this world has to offer to be disciples of this religion. Spyder Byte is no exception. Moreover, it is easy to get lost in individual elements that this style has to offer, between multiple guitar hooks, drum fills combined exceptional vocals; yet Spyder Byteconfirm their abilities as songwriters – writing for the song not for the musician. Simple is sometimes the hardest thing to accomplish. Yet when it is has an effect like nothing else. The band also illustrate how, even though imperative to the game, lead guitar wouldn’t survive without solid rhythmic foundations provided by Godfrey and Hammond. However no only does Byte demonstrate this, they also express how rhythm doesn’t have to be straight and formal; instead throw a melodic quality about it. Last but not least, a key lyric that hit me hard enough to daze me was “misery is good for revenge”. Personally, that is just one of those lines that…it’s hard to explain…but it just leaves you in love with it.
Although the shortest on the album, this has to be one of my favourite (I think I’ve said that about every song on here. But it’s just that good!). It’s a quick hit that leaves you pining for more. For some reason, the introduction reminds me of Poison’s ‘Unskinny Bop‘, more the feel rather than arrangement. Nonetheless that’s one of my favourite songs so I’m not complaining! Interestingly, there is a change in pace after the first chorus that works oddly well; with a lot occurring in the arrangement however elements don’t clash, nor does it confuse the listener in any way. Notably the vocal is at it’s clearest on this track. The name itself insinuates this, but its so typically Eighties sleaze that you can’t help but love it! There isn’t a part of this song that isn’t addictive. So far the album is living up to its title don’t ya think?
Track Five: ‘Moonshine’
Common theme so far with Byte is that they start each song so differently. Okay bear with me I know that sounds odd and y’all thinking “Well Rebel they’re not going to start each song the same now”. But there is something about this genre that, in terms of arrangement, it is easy to get stuck in a redundant routine. It’s refreshing to hear just the vocal and drums. Sleaze can become very hectic, not through any fault of its own, just an endeavour to maintain energy and drive. Although, Byte excellently manage to bring tracks to their bare-minimum whilst maintaining enthusiasm and intensity. Notably, they provide you with a break that you never knew you wanted. Signifying not only they talent as songwriters, but also they nail the overlooked talent of song placement in a set – or in this case album.
Track Six: ‘On Time’
Remember that glorious love triangle I created in a futile attempt to describe Lawrence’s vocal? Well I am about to add another one to the concoction. Up until now I’ve been racking my brain trying to think who else Lawrence reminds me of. It seemed so obvious. On the tip of my tongue. Then it hit me! You could say I was ‘thunderstruck’ …wait…that only makes sense if I had already told you the singer…although that particular song was with legendary Brian Johnson. I am in fact talking about the iconic voice that kick-started AC/DC’s phenomenal career. That’s right. Mr Bon Scott. Now you can all laugh at my cleverness. Okay that’s enough. Lawrence manages to draw forth all the finer qualities of all the vocalists I have mentioned, intertwining them with his own technique.
After the well-deserved break in ‘Moonshine’Byte bring back the verve harder and better than ever. It is possible to easily misplace and over do backing vocals. Yet Byte appropriately places gang vocals, utilising them to enhance the song. What’s more, the call and response arrangement between lead and backing vocals establish how intriguing ‘On Time’ would be to hear live. Particularly for a band just starting out and carving their name into the scene, having a repertoire that literally anyone can sing along to will aid them in the future. One way to hook a new crowd is having songs that allowed them to feel like they’re part of the show. Markedly, there is an unexpected drop half way through the track, leaving drums and bass to fend for themselves in a genre where it is easy to get lost in vocals and guitars. Again Byte live up to the albums name, as they arrange a build that is truly addictive, followed by a release in the solo that the listener craves.
First thing that struck me with this song was how much space there is in the introduction, allowing all parts to be accented and flourish, as each rightly should. Particularly I love the call and response between the vocals and musical arrangement. Again allowing members to demonstrate their true capabilities. Specifically, ‘Love Bomb Ticking’ again brought my attention to Mr Godfrey’s incredible skill and endurance as a drummer. The entire album already insinuated this, however this particular track confirmed my thinking. It’s easy to over look drummers, while they are the ones who provide the foundations and keep the others on track. Ensuring the songs stays steady. Fella’s don’t let go of this one.
Track Eight: ‘Addictive Poison’
Now, although I am easy to please I am extremely hard to impress, not only as a writer but also as a person. However Byte had me hooked through this entire album, ‘Addictive Poison’ being no different. Five seconds in and I’m already craving more. Notably, this is slightly heavier than their previous songs, allowing influences such as Metallica to project through the sleaze front. Nonetheless, this works surprisingly well. Leaving it…dare I say again…a favourite off the album. Every element is tight and provides the vicious cycle of a satisfactory craving for the song to continue. It wraps you in chains that you will happily commit to. But that’s just glam and sleaze at its finest. It is definitely my favourite in regards to guitar hooks. C.C. Naylar I tip my hat to you. Personally, I found this to be the best song to conclude the album on, conforming perfectly to the album title – this is an addictive poison that you can help but press repeat and put yourself through the bittersweet compulsion again and again.
Addictive guitar hooks. Strong, rhythmic foundations. Powerful vocals. All enhance these perfectly feel good driven songs. Whoever said sleaze was dead certainly hasn’t stumbled across these guys. They will reaffirm your faith in hairspray and tight leather/ripped denim. Happily losing yourself in the swirl of love and lust lyrics, shredding guitars and the debauched lifestyle of sex, strippers and whisky.
I’ve cleared my calendar for their next gig. Have you?
Until next time,
Check Out Spyder Byte Below: