Record Review: Spider Bags Still Excels at Biting Disillusion and Zany Abandon | Record Review | Indy Week
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Record Review: Spider Bags Still Excels at Biting Disillusion and Zany Abandon 

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As beefy, boozy guitars wind and tangle on the opening "Reckless," Spider Bags frontman Dan McGee offers a declaration that fairly well sums up the spirit of the irrepressible Orange County garage rockers. "I wasn't born to this world/To drive a truck," he cries, steely passion giving way to sneering venom, "Or to hold a truth/Or to give a fuck."

For more than a decade, Spider Bags have excelled with such collisions of biting disillusion and zany abandon, answering life's parade of indignities with a howl and a wink. And Someday Everything Will Be Fine, the band's first album in four years (save a 2017 LP backing up local singer Reese McHenry), showcases this essential strength better than any record before it.

Where 2014's Frozen Letter stretched from the taut propulsion of 2012's Shake My Head in a way that often felt either too belabored or too slight, the new album strikes a more winning balance between purposeful and carefree.

The group advertises its trademark pounding intensity on "Cop Dream/Black Eye (True Story)" and "Tonight, I Walk on the Water," but it mostly allows its guitars and rhythms room to protract and groove, flitting from booming psychedelics ("Burning Sand") to blistering country-punk ("Ninety Day Dog").

McGee acts as a steady compass amid Someday's delirious vacillations. On "Oxcart Blues," the guitars sparkle and the rhythm section jitters with syncopation, buoying the singer as he struggles with self-doubt. The terrific heartbroken travelogue "My Heart Is a Flame in Reverse" ebbs and flows with a punch-drunk sway, ratcheting intensity each time McGee hits a big revelation: "They learned that to live is to suffer and smile/And to succeed at anything you must fail for a long while."

On the closing track, a cover of Charlie Rich's 1977 country original, piano, strings, and soothing guest vocals from Jana Misener and Krista Wroten-Combest conjure images of a feral version of The Band. The middle-aged McGee pledges to continue the titular declaration of "Rollin' with the Flow"—"While guys my age are raising kids/I'm raising hell just like I did." Better than just rolling along, Spider Bags keep getting better.

(Disclosure: Spider Bags bassist Steve Oliva is the INDY's art director.)

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