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  • Judging from the sound of their fifth album, 2018's Furies, Mind Spiders have either seriously upped their game or they've found a better and more reliable source for vintage synthesizers. While Mind Spiders' early recordings often suggested they were using gear they rescued from the least expensive thrift shop in town, Furies sounds hard, clean, and forceful, with their electronics generating an inhuman pulse that's truly hi-fi compared to their first efforts. On Furies, bandleader Mark Ryan manages to tap into the sinister, purposefully off-putting sound of early synth punk acts like the Normal and the Screamers and bring it into the 21st century, while giving it a new degree of muscle and force. Guitar and drums still play a part on Furies, but this time out the electronics strongly dominate the musical landscape, and Ryan and his bandmates (Mike Throneberry and Peter Salisbury) have clearly written and arranged this material to make the most of the alien sounds they conjure. Several of the songs on Furies were inspired by Ryan's study of Greek mythology, in particular the Furies who delivered punishment to wrongdoers, and though these themes don't dominate all the songs, the music certainly meshes with the notion of avenging angels arriving to dole out punishment. Fear, anxiety, and rage are the operative emotions on Furies, and the playful side of this band has taken a leave of absence on these sessions. Furies is a tougher listen than most of Ryan's previous work, but the obsessive focus and relentless pummel of these eight songs is a threatening wonder to behold, and this is Mind Spiders' strongest work to date. ~ Mark Deming
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