I was a friend to me
I tried so hard to be
And we worked well together
I don't have time for me
And I've changed so much
That I just don't know me anymore"
(Excerpt from "The Empty Shell" – Wade Summerlin)
Cobweb Strange made two records in the
past as a trio. The band existed out of Wade Summerlin
(bass guitar, vocals) and Derik Rinehart
(drums) and was completed on the first album “The
temptation of successive hours” (1996) by guitarist Jonathan
Burke. On the second album “Sounds
from the gathering” (1998) Keith
Reinhart played the guitar. Derik Rinehart
also disappeared and the band of composer Wade
Summerlin has become a quartet in 2002.
Wade Summerlin – Bass guitar, Acoustic guitar & Vocals; Holly Williams – Electric guitar; Brandi Byrum – Keyboards & Backing vocals; Soumen Talukder – Drums.
Kevin Andrews – Chapman stick; Trevon Broad – Percussion; Chris Griffin – Additional guitars; Paul Jorgensen – Percussion; Sean McNalley – Percussion.
Because of the line-up changes in the last few years I don't think it is wise to compare the new album with the previous two. Not that the music is completely different. The band developed in a positive way. All the music is still from Wade Summerlin and the same atmosphere hangs as a dark blanket over the band. The quality of the recordings is better on each album. So I begin my review with the remark that this is their best album so far.
What about Cobweb Strange's music. The album opens with a song called "The drowning pulse of the cold green sea" (9:02). The slow intro has a nice percussion part. When Wade sings his first slow vocal lines the music get that same dark atmosphere you can find in the music of The Doors. It reminds me of the The Doors because of the way Wade sings. The backing vocals of Brandi Byrum are almost out of tune and give a special effect in the refrains. But I like the instrumental parts best. You can hear the band played this composition often at live gigs.
The second track of the album "Giant" also appeared in a different version on their debut album "The temptation of successive hours". The title is a homage to the band Gentle Giant, but musically I can't see a direct link to that band. The song has some up-tempo parts and a nice bass solo. Wade writes great lyrics but it doesn't bring you into a happy mood. "The empty shell" (5:08) is an acoustic guitar song with great lyrics, it has some nice melodies but the mood is very dark and depressed. "Tea for the sleepless" (6:34) also starts in a slow tempo but musically I like it better than the previous songs because something is happening and there is a kind of tension in the composition that makes the music a little bit adventurous.
The next track "Pure" (11:50) shows the more progressive and complex side in the music of the band. The opening sounds like a King Crimson song. The music has more power and has a lot of variation. The first five minutes are completely instrumental. At some points the music has the atmosphere of a band like as Discipline, which is heavily influenced by Van der Graaf Generator. "Currents of nightshade" (4:00) is mainly based on acoustic guitar with a slow mysterious vocal line. But it includes also Chapman stick and percussion. "One with the show" (6:43) is from origin an old song. The slow and dark acoustic side of Cobwebs music is here combined with the more up-tempo complex side. There is even an electric guitar solo. The last track "With evening falling" (1:17) is a short acoustic guitar piece.
The music Cobweb Strange makes is original
but at the same time mellow and often very dark. Several times The
Doors came into my mind when I was listening to Wade's vocals.
I only mention this to describe the atmosphere of the music. Personally
I like music with a dark atmosphere. But I would not listen to the album
when I am a little bit depressed. The long epic "Pure"
is the most heavy and progressive track. For me the highlight of the album.
But I would recommend you to listen first to the album at your local record
shop. Or visit first their website http://www.cobwebstrange.com
“A breath of October” is not everybody's cup of tea.