Sparklehorse - Good Morning Spider

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:1998-07-20

In between the release of 1995's Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot and this 1998 set, Sparklehorse mainman Mark Linkous almost died after curiosity compelled him to mix valium with antidepressants. A disposition to experimentation isn't always a good idea in life, but as far as making records goes, Linkous seems incapable of putting a foot wrong. Once again, this album oscillates between two poles. On one extreme, it's the clattering, melodic white noise that, on "Cruel Sun" and "Pig", recalls nothing so much as REM's classic Fables Of The Reconstruction. That'll do just fine--but the reason Sparklehorse are a band people get obsessive about rather than just love, is Virginia-raised Linkous's punch-drunk way with a fragile Southern ballad. "Come On In", "Maria's Little Elbows" and the concluding "Junebug" offer plenty of confirmation that no songwriter can make the abyss seem quite so homely. --Peter Paphides

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