Really, what do this lot put in their bedtime cocoa?
Tarwater – Spider Smile
What a cracker!
Tarwater rock, albeit in a melancholy, sinister way... This LP finds them at the top of their game; Shirley Temple is some kind of weird underwater instrumental take on Venus in Furs, as done by the Radiophonic Workshop. The singer's weird voice surfaces on World of Things to Touch, a track which sets the tone in terms of character for the rest of the album. Its melancholic; melodic in a reflective way and a bit bloody strange, a quality that is manifest on the following instrumental Witchpark. Really, what do this lot put in their bedtime cocoa? A Marriage in Belmont and Lower Manhattan Pantoum are just plain spooky and continue the Velvetsy menace of Shirley Temple. It really feels like a hobo record.
There is definitely an Eyeore-ish quality to Spider Smile; it's very noticeable on the instrumental Roderick Usher and the one attempt at a love in, When Love Was the Law in Los Angeles. Even Arkestra is a bit bedraggled (though always charming).
The LP ends with three stomping numbers; Easy Sermon is a demented one-paced rant; like a Trabant that's decided to try its luck on the outside lane of the Autobahn. Following that is the drunken stumble of Sweet Home Under White Clouds which is a fumbling reminiscence par excellence. Finally When Tomorrow Comes brings the set to a close with a disjointed but very charming love letter.
Top stuff. Weird, but interesting.
Words: Richard Foster