This debut full-length recording from San Diego’s Spider Fever seems a bit cheaply and quickly done – it moves swiftly with no breaks or lulls; the guitars are up too loud, meaning they’re ideal; the sound overall does an excellent job of mimicking a live set, which a lot of rock records fail to accomplish. And it’s no wonder that this record appropriates energy so well – Spider Fever is led by Mario Rubalcaba, best known for replacing the drummer in each of John Reis’ bands (Hot Snakes, Rocket from the Crypt, The Sultans) , and having spent time in a long train of relevant and exciting bands over the last couple decades, not limited to Off!, Black Heart Procession, and Earthless. Fuckin’ Earthless, rather.

What’s great about this record is that Rubalcaba has pulled influences from a number of his previous bands – this record is “Don’t Darlene” (RFTC), “Cherry Red” (Earthless), and the entire Off! debut all at once – and yet it is so much heavier, smoothly paced, and reeks so much more strongly of we still got it than any of the records in his catalog. He’s also snagged Reis’ brother and former Sultans bandmate Dean Reis to play bass, and his drummer’s energy has perhaps prepared him well for time as a frontman, where his Ash Bowie vocals are slightly buried under, but don’t care to compete with, guitar fuzz best qualifying Spider Fever for that curious gunk punk label. This is one of the best rock records of 2012, and will undoubtedly be one of the most overlooked, as well. [Windian]

-China Bialos


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