"Spiders" by Septic and the Tanks

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"Spiders" by Septic and the Tanks

Review

The release of the Septic and the Tanks' Christmas single, "Spiders" took me by surprise this morning (I knew that one was imminent but not when nor which one) but in a good way of course.

Surprises seem one of the hallmarks of this band who emerged fully formed almost out of nowhere (most members had learned their instruments specifically to create the band and so were not known as previous members of others).

And you've certainly taken them to your hearts: despite only having been available for three months, their track "Get in Line" (on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Ten') is already one of the most streamed HMLP tracks in all of our more than five year history.

This song, a more recent recording (by Jon Webb at the Moonbase) than those previously issued such as the singles "Be My Feet" and "Dog's Birthday Party" (it's the most recent song that'll appear in time on their debut album) is a comparatively slow Septicsong (hint: in absolute terms it's not terribly slow) with a measured gnarly riff by James alternating with more frenzied sections anchored by the now well established & steady rhythm section of Sophie & Sarah. Within this as usual Lucy's banjo craftily seeks & jostles for space to add nuances.

Over this we are treated to another trademark vocal by Robin in which again she barely controls her disgust at the subject of her lyrics and once again we must applaud her for not (apparently) succumbing to what seems to be her urge to hurl.

We are deep into metaphor territory here: the creatures actually addressed are spiders and quite possibly Robin would like them to leave her house, though in practice I gather she actually likes them. However would one address spiders in human language and expect compliance? Do they really "take up too much space"? Would one expect them to pay rent? I suspect that she's actually talking about something more human sized & shaped (though she does admit that though she doesn't like spiders crawling on her face and one particular nocturnal episode inspired the choice of metaphor) and in fact specifically male ("…it's a bit of a feminist rage..")

Like in "Dog's Birthday Party" (or at least its closing verses), she's had enough of something or someone who has overstayed their welcome & is pretty articulate in asking them to leave. Such is her vehemence in so doing that you can't imagine them staying a moment longer under that barrage of vocals: especially as the invitations to leave are interspersed with her phrasing "too many" (as in "too many legs") remarkably like "terminate": an alternative strategy?

At any rate, this approach of dropping one track at a time is helpful I think: enables us to absorb each one on its own terms not only to appreciate them the better but also because a whole heap of Septicsongs in an album sized collection is going to be very powerful stuff and so preparing our nervous systems gradually is appreciated.

Check out too the customarily delightful video for "Spiders" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkHAl0jmxfA

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