Dan Webb and the Spiders are a punk band from Massachusetts that evolved out of a one man band. Irish Handcuffs are a punk band from Germany that formed out of a love for Jawbreaker and (presumably) Smoke or Fire. Despite hailing from different continents, the two bands have teamed up together to display their song-writing talents in the form of a split EP. The result is a four track rush of snotty, yet melodious, punk rock.
Dan Webb and the Spiders start the split with “Quiet Houses”, showing that the band hasn’t lost its touch when it comes to their brand of garage-y punk rock. Webb’s vocals are slightly reminiscent of a young Lars Frederiksen, but don’t let that comparison pigeon-hole the band in any way as a Rancid-wannabe. “Quiet Houses” is full of aggressive musicianship, and a chorus that begs to be shouted along with. The lead guitar screeches through the song’s final moments, but it never sounds jarring. “Last Straw”, the Spiders’ other contribution to the split, is a bit of a catchier number, with less in-your-face instrumentals, and more reserved vocals. Webb’s vocals adopt more of a Shevchuk scratch to them, and it suits the song’s melodic approach, not unlike how the actual Shevchuk’s vocals suited LaGrecia. Much like its companion, “Last Straw” is full of vocal harmonies and is sure to be a fun sing-along.
Irish Handcuffs don’t miss a beat to keep the energy flow up high. The young band contributes two gruff, yet melodic punk rock tunes that pick up right where they left off with 2012’s stubbs. EP. “Derail” is upbeat, and the guitar work sounds almost like it could have been a song that got lost during the stubbs. sessions. As catchy as the chorus is though, it’s “Sunday’s Ghosts” where Irish Handcuffs really shine, with the four piece outfit really bringing their A-game to the three and a half minute track. The instruments conjure up a dark and gloomy atmosphere, and the raw emotion in the vocals delivers the band’s best studio performance to date. It’s almost bizarre to think that this is only Irish Handcuffs’ second studio release, as it plays as if the band has been around for a few years.
The best kinds of splits are the ones that showcase the talents of all the bands involved without one stealing the thunder away from the other; everyone gives it their all to show what they’re made of but holding back just enough so that the listener wants more. Dan Webb and the Spiders and Irish Handcuffs have accomplished exactly that with this split all too well, to the point that it might make you think that four songs just isn’t enough. This split acts as a very promising teaser for future releases, and cements both Dan Webb and the Spiders and Irish Handcuffs as forces to be reckoned with in the melodic punk scene.