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The Web - I Spider CD (album) cover

I SPIDER

The Web

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.05 | 42 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is where The Web became just Web, ultimately offering a powerful point of reference for the evolution of prog rock in the jazz-rock area. The entry of keyboardist Dave Lawson (also owner of a charismatic, powerful singing style, bizarre pitch) refurbished the band's sound by making the keyboards and vibes form the prominent nuclear center of the whole ensemble's sound. It is also obvious that the new fresh air comes from the solid influences from great contemporaries art-rock bands such as Soft Machine, The Nice, Caravan, Egg and Procol Harum. The album kicks off with the monster piece 'Concerto for Bedsprings', a 10+ minute song with five individually defined sections. 'I Can't Sleep' is a slow rocker intro that sounds like a Zeppelin-meets-Egg feast, and it is a real pity that it isn't longer because it's terribly catchy. Anyway, the transitions to the next two sections emphasize the band's jazzy nuclear essence, very Canterbury-related indeed. 'You Can Keep the Good Life' is an uplifting section that straightforwardly reveals the band's good vibe; the featured sax solo is playful enough to complement the quite controlled deliveries of the remaining instruments. A passage like this explains why Lawson was destined to meet Dave Greeenslade some day and form a band together. Once again, this section ends too soon to segue into the closing section 'Loner'. I wouldn't have minded if it had been some minutes longer, but it's really a great start. The namesake track is an excellent showcase for the ingenious use of a simplistic musical idea in order to make it richer. The languid cadence, the lush organ layers and soaring vibraphone, the hazy sax lines, all of them create a pertinently introspective atmosphere; meanwhile, the repetitive minimal guitar phrases fulfill the overall aura with their focused precision. And the gentle chord shift that sets the conclusive portion, well, it's just plain lovely, mysterious in a way. If a track can last 8 minutes with such an evidently concise motif, then one must acknowledge the genius in the concept and the arrangement. The album's second half kicks off with 'Love You': after an eerie intro of piano and mellotron, the piece unwraps a main body that sounds like one of those R'n'B-toned The Nice songs that made it for any of their first two albums, only Web delivers it with a more meticulous balance among instruments. Lead guitarist plays a brief, rough solo that is closely related to anything that Robin Trower could have performed in Procol Harum's "Shine On Brightly" or "Home" albums. Generally speaking, this track is not too complex, but it certainly portrays a very usual sound in England's underground rock scene at the time. Complexity really comes out in the superb instrumental 'Ymphasomniac', an effective exhibition of pre-Gentle Giant syncopation combined with colorful traces of Egg and Colosseum. The album's last 8 minutes are occupied by 'Always I Wait', a song that brings much of the spirit of the extroverted moments from 'Concerto', only this time provided with an extra touch of blues-rock to feed the overall jazz feel. The track's melodic arrangement is elegantly developed, which shows the band's ability to set constraints to the potential energy in a clever way. Shortly after, the band added a second saxophonist and changed its name to Samurai: "I Spider" is, mainly, a solid precedent of that, and in itself, a great if obscure effort for the installment of early prog.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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