Meltdown

MIND SPIDERS

In the wake of their 1976 debut, the Ramones spawned an overnight movement of hyper-accelerated, melodic imitators who, like their inspiration, have walked the fine line between absurdity and ebullience. Most of these acts are easily forgotten, yet just when the pop-punk bloodline seems dead and buried, a song comes along to get the heart pumping like the boys from Queens used to. This year it’s “Beat,” a two-minute-and-twenty-second palpitation of pop economy from Fort Worth’s MIND SPIDERS. Though the band began as the solo project of guitarist/songwriter/singer Mark Ryan (who in 2009 put his little-known but locally adored punk outfit, the Marked Men, on hiatus), the Spiders’ second release, MELTDOWN (Dirtnap), is a full band explosion, with two drummers who guarantee that the rhythm never lets up. The fast-tracked beats evoke the age of silly new-wave acts like Oingo Boingo and Billy Idol, but Ryan knows how to have fun without sounding like a clown or a gothed-up brooder. Guitars burst, hook-laden choruses ring out, what few chords there are linger, and the beat goes on and on. There’s not a moment of flash, but there are production flourishes (backing vocals, keyboards) you don’t expect from this genre. And there are several worthy successors to “Beat”—especially “More Than You,” “Play You Out,” and “Upside Down.” In fact, aside from the drone of the instrumental title track, nothing here is wasted. Thirty-one minutes, in and out. Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee would be proud.

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