By Zac Camagna
Will this be the album where Chapel Hill’s Spider Bags finally get the recognition they deserve? It’s hard to think they couldn’t with such an ambitious offering like Shake My Head, their third full length from the Odessa Records label in North Carolina.
Shake My Head is driven by a “fuck it, let’s do this” sort of mentality, which makes for plenty of solid, heart-stopping rock & roll anthems that always manage to overshadow the brutally honest and sad tone of Dan McGee’s lyrics. Most–if not all–of the alt-country twang from past efforts is traded in for a grandiose rock & roll sound, bringing down the house with lethal onslaughts like “Keys to the City”, “Friday Night”, and “Standing on a Curb”. Aside from that, there are some less exhilarating dirges, like the dark and noisy “Daymare”, “The Moon is a School Girl” and the lazy swagger of “Shawn Cripps Boogie”. Despite their dreary nature, this three song punch makes up a hell of a finish for the epic album.
Epic is a word I use sparingly, but you must give credit where credit is due–this album is epic. Not many sing as honestly as McGee, which is evidenced in tracks like “I’ll Go Crazy” or “Daymare”, the latter of which is probably the closest we’ll ever get to A Celebration of Hunger-era Spider Bags. “The buildings are the bastards of the sky/ I got high/ I was born where the moonlight meets the sky,” slurs McGee against a scratchy backdrop, using his catchy hooks to help seal up a track that is considerably haunting.
If that does the trick, then now it’s on you to go and check the remainder of Shake My Head. And if you find that the Bags are coming to your town, it’s worth every second to check them out. They came through Philadelphia this past weekend and these videos from the show speak for themselves.