Jul 23, 2012

Expectations can be venomous, especially when they’re self-applied. Mark Ryan is serious about his music. He’s also very humble about it. For shit’s sake—let’s be honest—he could not play another note in his life and a wide swath of people’ll give him kudos for being in the Marked Men. What’s horrifying is putting yourself out for public consumption while not retreading the same territory or recycling riffs. There’s an entire industry—the music industry—built on the precept of “give the people what they want.” Meltdown is Mark’s second full-length outing as the Mind Spiders, and, as a collection, his strongest set of songs. They’re cohesive, escape-hatch hermetically sealed, and describe another world. (The title track—the last one on the album—took some getting used to, but then the Can / Kraftwerk synapses fired in my brain and I’m enjoying the way it folds the record up.) I’m sure Mind Spiders will be lumped into garage rock and top-downists will compare Mark to Jay Reatard (RIP). Go ahead, it’s not completely off-range, but Mind Spiders is a different species, a separate string theory. That said, Meltdown is also gargantuanly filmic in quality, like it’s a soundtrack of isolation and far distances. It’s creeping. It’s paranoid. It feels limitless like outer space, with dangers ranging from microbic infections, to radiation poisoning, to old-fashioned going batshit crazy. Think Omega Man, The Andromeda Strain, and,especially, Moon. I don’t say this lightly: this record’s brilliant.

 –todd (Dirtnap)

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