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'71 Spiders'

(Self-released digipack - 2017)

MARK: 87/100

  "71 Spiders" is a self-produced digipack chosen as a debut album for a heponimous NY-based one-man band.

The cover shows a spider that made its webs on musicians' skeletons and their instruments; the depicted sunset has its shadows going towards those watching it, while the clouds turn to the USA flag.
While the logo was rendered by a computer, all the remaining visual aspects were made analogically with pastels by local artist Gerry Andrea, who drew all of the artwork just before his passing.
The back cover sees the king of spiders crucifixed by other smaller spiders celebrating his death with joy, whereas the first inner photo displays all the tools used by Spider Fingers to create this album, and the CD itself was made with a label with the number 71 and a spider on it.
The front and the back of the artwork booklet were digitally realized with the former in red letters on a black background, and the latter with black and white letters on a black background. Curiously the logo is different to the one utilized on the digipack cover.
Specifically the drawings and the photos related to the songs inside the booklet are like this:
-the first was made with a black pen: it's night, there are a few comets, the moon, Saturn, someone dancing and someone else playing a drum.
-the second contains an out of focus web.
-the third has a crucifix and two faces under, as well as men far away; one of them below holds a lance, and this weapon often recurs in the drawings of this booklet.The entire scene was made with a simple black pencil.
-in the fourth you can see a tribe and some gaurs running. Interestingly, the style reminds the one of cavemen's. Charcoal was the means used here.
-charcoal was made use of in the fifth, too, representing a mand meditating under a tree.
-the sixth song is matched by a photo with a Japanese woman stuck with an enlarged detail of the very first photo.
-the seventh piece of the artwork is a black-penned sinister drawing which portrays a woman holding a baby in her arms.
-the eighth is a real complex work of charcoal: a tree is formed by a tattoed man and a woman ending with their pelvises and joined to constitute a single body; they're in the middle of a sexual intercourse and their four arms are made up by branches.
-a signed charcoal drawing is the ninth segment of the booklet and this is the first time Gerry's signature appears. Here Jesus holds a light energetic sphere in his hands. The upper stuck part contains an enlarged detail of the drawing that was originally cut out and is impossible to identify. I submit you to notice that once again the eyes of the character are completely black.
-one more time Mr. Andrea used charcoal, and his ninth drawing (tenth segment in this list) is characterized by a drunk desperate person, alone on a street at night. The face is unfocussed and there are snakes on the attack.
-the tenth drawing (eleventh segment in this booklet list) is my favourite. A pencil was used this time lightly for the contour line, whereas charcoal made the rest. Only one pencil stroke was enough to clearly depict a hand and the rest of the guitar player, and moreover the position chosen to represent him is perfect to deliver dynamism. Truly an excellent artist Gerry Andrea was!
Once again, an enlarged detail was stuck upon the drawing representing the finger and the hair before they were finalized.
-the twelfth segment is a drawing in charcoal portraying Spider Fingers, the singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist behind this one-man band.
All these diverse techniques contribute in making the whole artwork even more beautiful and interesting time after time.

The lyrics cover the following topics:
-a musician become sad after losing their success, yet keeping on playing.
-a sexy woman desired by everyone and famous in her city who's married a priest.
-the story of a sinful life enjoyed as much as possible with the convinction that God will forgive it.
-being confident in ones' talent.
-living a dream.
-hitting rock-bottom and rise again.
-a finished relationship, in which the one abandoned is all alone.
-a band's ex musician.
-farewell and solitude (my fave one).



This never overproduced platter lifts off with the opener "Spider Web Blues", a Hard Rock piece in the vein of early Little Caesar with a break followed by a Guns 'n' Roses-like guitar solo until the reprise comes back along with horses' hooves step sounds added on.
"The Holy Man" turns out to be more atmosperical, hypnotic and slow-paced, whereas the refrain is quite easy to remember. A mention must go to the higher vocals, because they really sound awesome and are clearly well-performed.
Beginning psychedelically and referring to The Jimi Hendrix Experience during the less powerful riffs and the groovy licks used, "Story of My Life" is a bit shorter than the other tracks here included and was chosen to be made a video of, watchable at the following Youtube address:
After the catchy and Kissian "Got 2 Have it", we get to "Tokyo Rose", a masterpiece based upon chimes, ritualistic drumming, soft vocals and an erotic ambience delivered by additional female vocals. The guitar appears, but it's a minor companion in this case until it rises up in volume during a solo. The conclusion is entrusted with wind chimes, a low-fi voice coming out of an old radio, and a faded 1930s tune.
Definitely the most up-to-date, dynamic, heaviest and fastest song of the album, "Broken Dreams" contains an amazing refrain, involving drumwork and biting guitar licks. Check out its accompanying visualizer here:
While "Love Is Now" is a mightier and updated version of The Beatles, enriched with slidings toward Hard Rock and Grunge, "Been Down n Turned Around" is acid and rich in axe solos, moving between Black Sabbath and Rob Zombie, and "All Alone" places itself halfway between King's X and Tom Petty. Here's the link to the depressing video paired with the sad song:
Thanks to excellent songwriting and performance, "Snooze U Loose" proves to be another highlight that sticks to one's mind immediately. It deals with a relaxing track typical of several north-American singer-songwriters which flares up on the occasion of its stops 'n' go as well as when the second guitar is added for a solo paired with the acoustic one.
Lastly, "Goodnight" shows itself to be late night Blues Rock, made precious by spooky backing vocals bringing listeners out of time and any human dimension.

We're in front of a record conceived vintage both stylistically and sound-wise, exposing what a group of songs written in the 70s would sound like if they were revisited today with a raw, yet modern production, minimalistic drum patterns and a current viewpoint.
The quality of the final result is so elevated that it would be a moral crime for any serious Retro Hard Rock lover to ignore the rare and little known "71 Spiders" CD: a secret real jewel that is well worth the research!


  MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 10 October 2019

Spider Man Blues
The Holy Man
Story of My Life
Got 2 Have it
Tokyo Rose
Broken Dreams
Love Is Now
Been Down n Turned Around
All Alone
Snooze U Loose

71 Spiders (CD - 2017)

Line-up on this record:
Richard Josselyn, aka Spider Fingers - v., g., b., d. (ex-Electric Monster, ex-The Flying Sixtynine)

Milford, CT - USA

Official sites: