Wood Spider: Decadence Album Review

Wood Spider delivers an excellent and unique album that blends folk stylings, punk influence, and ethos almost perfectly in their fourth album.

Joseph Rivas, Columnist

Wood Spider, an utterly unique folk-punk band from New York released their fourth album named “Decadence” in February 2014 for free on their Bandcamp. Right off the bat, I’d like to state that the album is extraordinary; the band’s thoughtfully ramshackle cacophony of banjo, bass, ukulele, cello, accordion, and glockenspiel blend together masterfully as one cohesive unit while still remaining and preserving their characteristic differences. The band’s sonically adventurous darkened-gypsy-folk-punk inspired waltz’s and airy delicate approach to instrumentation contrasts perfectly with the bands louder, foot-stomping, energetic moments that make you sing or stomp along.

The album’s theme and tone are phenomenal, it has a cathartic organicness allowing you to get lost in the album. It carries an astonishing amount of momentum and emotion that in no way feels forced or written, it seems like the natural byproduct of the band expressing what they want and gives the whole album a feeling of contentedness and relief.

The album as a singular entity is spectacular, but there are definite songs and instrumental bits that stand out above the rest, such as the first time the vocals peak and distort. Overall, the audio quality is great, especially for a folk-punk album, but during certain parts the vocals get loud enough to subtly drive and distort which may be an issue for some, but I found that it improved the song’s impact substantially. Much like that, the stomping throughout the album makes the band’s lack of dedicated percussion a blessing, the stomping of two people sounds thunderous and grand in a way you may expect from a small army. The carefully performed quiet sections in songs like “Empty Home” build excitement and flow into the grand crescendo by utilizing the almost fantastical glockenspiel sparsely with a base of the eerie and unique wallows of the singing saw punctuated by tremolo picked ukulele or upright bass.

Lyrically, the band runs the gamut from folksy tales of beasts and life to hard hitting socio-political commentaries on capitalism, society and emotions, admittedly these topics are fairly standard for most Folk-Punk bands, but Wood Spider adds their own spin on it and executes it spectacularly through their well-written lyrical content and complimenting vocals. At times, the vocal styles of the band members harken back to the first waves of British extreme metal in their gruff, raspy shouts, most likely due to the heavy Crust Punk inspiration that manifests in their work, musically and lyrically.

For those who are looking for a unique, well written and wondrously performed Folk-Punk album, “Decadence” by Wood Spider certainly won’t disappoint you. Excellent for those who are already well versed in Folk-Punk culture and music and a great introduction for those who have an interest in exploring what the genre and culture has to offer when it is at its best.