Spiders06jan

The Way to Bitter Lake

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Raised on Beatles, Dylan and Floyd, Spider's Jane Herships later became a self-proclaimed "Dead Head" hippie, following the rainbow gatherings for a time, and eventually winding up in NYC where she apparently went into fashion modeling. I say apparently because although it's not mentioned in her bio, the picture she sent in of herself was from a model shoot taken for a fashion magazine. And, if I may say, one thing that Jane Herships certainly has in common with her moniker "Spider" is that they both have legs.

Perhaps it's the slight quiver, but Jane Herships' voice is mildly reminiscent of Victoria Williams. The muted singing and sparse, delicate guitar strumming also remind me of Will Oldham's Master and Everyone, perhaps even early Edith Frost or Chan Marshall's records prior to Moon Pix.

The Way to Bitter Lake, Hership's debut self-released record, is an intimate collection of hushed songs that manage to strike a balance of not being either overly "folky" or overly sweet. Her gift for subtlety and taste shows in every aspect of her craft, from the understated production style to the CD artwork and even her website (designed by her sister).

Mostly made of sleepy songs that are perfect for a chill-out mood, everything in The Way to Bitter Lake seems to build up to a climactic moment in "Maggie's Song for Alice," where she rocks out for about a minute. I'm convinced that this "rock solo" was strategically placed in the record at the moment you are most likely to be drifting off into blissful sleep. Not that her songs are boring, mind you, but rather because like a spider, Jane lures you into her web, making you feel comfortably numb… and just when you float off into unconsciousness, she eats you alive.