When you’ve been in the game as long as Mark Ryan has, you can pretty much do whatever you want. As one of the founding members of influential garage punk band The Marked Men, a major creative force in the similar but darker group Radioactivity, and many other projects, he has definitely become a master of creating memorable and ridiculously catchy lo-fi punk tunes. And he has no plans on slowing down. With Prosthesis, Ryan’s constantly evolving “solo” project Mind Spiders returns for their 4th album of synth heavy garage punk.
The boys from The Marked Men seem to be getting darker and darker with each new album they put out, no matter the group. Last years’ Silent Kill from Radioactivity was the perfect blend of poppy melodies and dark atmosphere all wrapped up in their signature garage sound. But that album still had its brighter songs. Prosthesis takes the next step, with the whole album giving off a gloomy vibe from start to finish. The synths and guitar play off each other with minor and dissonant chord passages that create a sense of unease. The band is still able to pull the songs together and come out with something catchy and memorable.
Synthesizer is featured very prominently on the album. In some songs, it is the driving force, while in others, it serves just to create a bit more atmosphere. Songs like “No Filter” and “Prosthesis” use the synths to lay out the main melodies of the song, while the guitar backs them up and drums keep the song moving along. “Running” on the other hand features very little, if any, synth and relies on the guitar strumming away at power chords and haunting vocals to create what is probably the catchiest song on the album. “Cold” uses a similar outline but has great moments in the verses when the guitar cuts out and the synth comes in to accentuate the tone of the song.
The synth heavy nature of the album might turn some people off. Some of the songs might come off as cheesy to some, like the robotic beeps and boops of “Split in Two.” But underneath it all, this is most definitely a Mark Ryan album, and fans will know what they are going to get: a strong songwriting foundation with familiar garage punk staples and some not so familiar changes and experimentation that prove that Mind Spiders are at the top of their game.
4.5 / 5 Stars
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