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Good Morning Spider

music reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Good Morning Spider

Artist: Sparklehorse
Genre: Rock/Pop
Release Date: February 1999

Review by LarryG
3 stars out of 4

Mark Linkous, the leader of Sparklehorse, is one of the most interesting figures in rock music. After touring to support his  first record, Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot, Linkous nearly died of a drug overdose and was in the hospital for three months. Good
Morning Spider reflects he turmoil of that experience.  However, the surreal nature of much of Good Morning Spider, can't be attributed just to his recent experience. Linkous was pretty weird to start with.  If anything, the new record is slightly more mainstream than the first. Good Morning Spider is a sprawling, frustrating, compelling, strange and sometimes brilliant work that takes all kinds of twists and turns. It starts with Pig, an Nine Inch Nails style electric guitar assault, then turns 180 degrees to the very subdued Painbirds, which has an anesthetized feel, and the stark Saint Mary, where Linkous sings in an even weaker voice for a nurse to blanket him and keep him from burning, accompanied almost exclusively by a very spare acoustic guitar. Linkous has the ability to create a pop hook or a fairly straight rock song as he showed on the first record's Someday I Will  Treat You Good and Rainmaker. Sick of Goodbyes is a very catchy rock song with a nice easy feeling. Maria's Little Elbow is an easy folk rocker where Linkous sings about a lonely friend. Ghost of His Smile is a fun rocker edged with a cheesy synthesizer. But Linkous seems bored with a straight rock song. He likes to mess with the songs by doing things like filtering his voice on songs like the hard rocker Cruel Sun. Sunshine is a nice, quiet song that refers to having a past washed away but as it nears the end, the music distorts as if played on a warped record. Happy Man seems to be a great rock song but Linkous obscures it by simulating the effect of a poorly tuned radio, adding a layer of static to nearly the entire song. Good Morning, Spider has a number of very personal, surreal introspective ballads, often delivered in a weak voice, as if sung from a hospital bed. It's filled with images of heaven and mortality. Much of the dreamy Come On In is a child like invocation of "now I lay me down to sleep, I pray my the Lord my soul to keep", as if Linkous had been prepared to die.  Good Morning, Spider is a fascinating work by an idiosyncratic artist who has obviously been effected by a very traumatic experience and luckily is still around to tell about it on Good Morning, Spider.



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