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Spiders & Snakes: Hollywood Ghosts

Too late for the Hollywood glam-metal scene of the late-Eighties, Spiders & Snakes formed in 1990 and toiled in Tinsel Town's underground on a career trajectory oddly similar to the one traveled by Sebastian Bach after he left Skid Row. Spiders & Snakes has gone from being a standard hair-metal outfit to wearing sci-fi costumes and silver face paint to hosting outrageous gigs in front of barely fazed audiences. The band's high point probably came with an appearance in The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. All of this cult-pleasing nonsense is chronicled on a sometimes-painful-to-watch DVD of 15 vintage videos that accompanies Hollywood Ghosts, the seventh album from Spiders & Snakes - now essentially narrowed down to vocalist, guitarist and bassist Lizzie Grey and vocalist, drummer and keyboard player Timothy Jay.

Fortunately, the record is easier to digest than the DVD and warrants repeat spins. Although most of the dozen songs on Hollywood Ghosts smack of old-school glam-metal production values and arrangements - influences range from Slade and Mott the Hoople to Motley Crue and Poison - there is an acoustic sweetness to these songs. Nothing over the top or in your face here. Rather, songs like the Enuff Z'Nuff-like "Freeway," the reflective ballad "Someday" and the fun Monica Lewinsky spoof "Bill's Cigar" float melodically by, the duo's slightly nasally vocals and sugary background singing carrying them. Unfortunately, when Spiders & Snakes rocks a little more, as on a reworked version of its own song "The Siamese Twins" and "Spiders & Snakes," the more desperate the band sounds. Perhaps that's why Grey and Jay have opted to reincarnate themselves once more, this time playing gigs as an acoustic duo, a smart strategy reflected in two visually boring but sonically intriguing acoustic versions of old Spiders & Snakes songs on the DVD.

The penultimate track on Hollywood Ghosts is the pretty and elegiac "Waiting For Me in L.A.," a reflection on faded hopes with the lingering line: "This dream won't fade away." That certainly seems to be the case for Grey and Jay, who 15 years on, have little mainstream success to show for their admirable efforts.

Track Listing:
1) Ascension
2) American Baby
3) Angelyne
4) Spiders & Snakes
5) Freeway
6) The Siamese Twins
7) Bill's Cigar
8) The Girl Can't Help It
9) Someday
10) Just Me
11) Waiting For Me in L.A.
12) Get Outta Here

Added: March 28th 2005
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Spiders & Snakes Web Site
Hits: 2416
Language: english

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