The Pink Spiders stormed onto the Nashville music scene with their eyes on the prize. In a whirlwind of hustle and clatter, the band seemed an instant iconoclastic frame of French New Wave cinema come to life. Striking figures in pink and jet black, they were distant and aloof, itchy and sex-fueled. The first gunshot came in January of 2004 with The Pink Spiders are Taking Over!, a battle cry of an EP that served as a frenetic, precocious primer for the band?s pop-punk fascination with decadence, obsession and thwarted lovers.
With an almost Machiavellian sense of ambition, the band calculated, strategized and plotted, signing an indie deal with CI Records in the summer of 2004, touring relentlessly and living the freshly lit cigarettes, stiff drinks and sexual adventure that would fill their upcoming work. Live shows from the period were kinetic and jolting performances marked by in-jokes and brash, swaggering bravado. The band liked to stick it to the crowd, with drummer Bob Ferrari often giving them the finger during a one-handed solo and bassist Jon Decious spitting beer into the front row. "We?re The Pink Spiders, and you?re not," singer and guitarist Matt Friction once taunted by way of introduction to a packed, unsuspecting audience. Crowds were never quite sure if the band would seduce them or insult them, but they could always be certain the band would dispense their blitzed hyper-driven pop-punk with beer-swilling abandon.
January 2005 brought the stunning full-length Hot Pink and a whirlwind of industry attention. The work is a chillingly well-conceived album that unfurls like a grainy black and white film about fast getaways and fast women. It?s doo wop on a bender; catchy, infectious doses of dark, unruly pop for the lust-filled swinger. There is humanity in Friction?s clever portraits of love and the human condition, even if his primary concern is for skirt-chasing seduction and the short-lived addiction that inevitably follows. Every tale is a new city, a new girl, a new crush, with an explosive backdrop that gets the blood going ? Buddy Holly?s pop sensibility cut with a sneer.
The band toured nonstop on the record, battling the elements and chaos offered by life on the road. Not only did their trailer catch fire in Buffalo, but the band slept in New York city subways when they had nowhere to crash, and donated plasma to fund their demanding tour schedule. A mere three months after the record was released, several major-label offers were on the table, and in April of 2005, the band signed with Geffen. The Pink Spiders have since been named as one of Alternative Press? "100 Bands you need to know in 2006.?
Their major label debut, Teenage Graffiti, is a fevered, luminous record of rock ?n? roll escapades. Produced by Cars? front man Ric Ocasek and mixed by Tom Lord-Alge, the record inventories the impulsiveness of summer road trips, the apathy of youth and testosterone-fueled fun. It kicks off with a rebel yell, capturing the feeling of a sweaty club with beer bottles clanking on the ferocious ?Soft Smoke.? The song ?Saturday Nite Riot? is an instantly infectious sing-along with soaring bubblegum harmonies and a climactic beat. Numbers like ?Back to the Middle? show the band packing more fist-pumping punch than three-minute pop boundaries usually permit. Standout track "Little Razorblade" -- an ode to the crush-heavy pang -- gives ?60s-flavored pop confections a black eye with its cinematic stagger from love-weary pop song to petulant rock wail.
Teenage Graffiti shows the band achieving its former dynamism with a renewed defiance, rebellion and dexterity. Just as the first EP threatened, The Pink Spiders are indeed taking over ? with brighter tones and darker sunglasses.