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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Spider (USA) - 1981 Between The Lines
 
Spider (USA) - 1981 Between The Lines



ARTIST: Spider (USA)
ALBUM: Between The Lines
LABEL: Dreamland
SERIAL: 23 94 28
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 2012, Air Mail (Japan), AIRAC-1650

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Amanda Blue - vocals * Keith Lentin - guitars * Jimmy Lowell - bass * Holly Knight - keyboards * Anton Fig - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Change * 02 I Think I Like It * 03 Between The Lines * 04 It Didn't Take Long * 05 Going By * 06 Better Be Good To Me * 07 Can't Live This Way Anymore * 08 Faces Are Changing * 09 Go And Run * 10 I Love


Background
As documented in the Shanghai review elsewhere on the site, this is the US Spider, not to be confused with the British rockers of the same name. 'Between The Lines' was Spider's second album, their last to feature the name before they changed names to Shanghai a year later. Blue, Lentin and Fig were originally members of South African act Hammak, ending up in the US following that bands demise to chance their arm. Fig was primarily responsible for Spider's signing to the Dreamland label, his performance on Ace Frehley's 1978 solo album enough for Ace to suggest the act should be snapped up. Knight and Lowell were added and the 1980 self titled debut was a marginal hit. 'Between The Lines' further extended Spider's ultra commercial blend of synthesizer based AOR, with constant new wave and pop shades. 'Better Be Good To Me' was another hit for the band, although Tina Turner made it even more known with her version, possibly making Spider (probably more Holly Knight than anyone else) wealthy in the process!


The Songs
The opening keyboard riff of 'Change' is exactly the same as SPYS 'Don't Run My Life', causing one to think coincidence or copy and on whose part? That's the only similarity, Spider not quite as heavy as that act, Blue's vocals giving Spider a totally different feel. That said 'I Think I Like It' is a boisterous piece of hard rock fury, with the guitars more upfront for once. The hook could be viewed as very new wave based, perhaps more suited to the soundtrack of 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High' than purist AOR. Blondie comparisons are unavoidable when discussing the title track, mainly in the keyboard dept and of course Blue's vocals, but this time the AOR element is more noticeable. 'It Didn't Take Long' follows the radio friendly path that Ambrosia and the Pure Prairie League were treading in 1981, not to far removed from PPL's 'Let Me Love You Tonight'. I'm not too enamoured with the piano work of 'Going By', although some dramatic melody lines improve matters, while 'Better Be Good To Me' seems like a cover, so used to the Ms Turner version I think! 'Faces Are Changing' is less than remarkable melody wise, remedied by the fantastic AOR of 'Go And Run' which would benefit from some Michael Bolton style vocals for even more effect. ' I Love' scores heavily with some dazzling guitar work, in typically glorious AOR fashion.


In Summary
Quite simply an excellent album, with only a few slip ups. The bouncy new wave meets AOR sound was popular in the early 80's, although there is far more AOR here as a whole, the band slipping into different gears when the moment suits them, whether it be soft rock, hard rock or pop. The only casualty of the line-up during the Shanghai transformation was Knight, replaced by Beau Hill. Easily available through Renaissance Records, the CD release of this combined with the debut during 1997. This is a worthwhile listen, one that made these ears appreciate female vocals in AOR more than usual.


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Comments
#1 | sabace on April 11 2006 14:32:30
great lp excellent vocals from amanda blue
#2 | rostoned on May 26 2008 21:20:20
This was their second consecutive album to enter the Billboard 200 in the US, but it only went to #185 during a micro 2 week run. Contrary to popular (say collector's) belief the only single that charted from this LP was 'It Didn't Take Long' which peaked at #43 in the Billboard HOT 100.

The more popular 'Change' and 'Better Be Good To Me' never appeared in the American charts under the Spider banner BUT enjoyed fame and fortune later as coverized respectively by John Waite in 1985 (#54) and Tina Turner in 1984 (#5). That's life.
#3 | Eric on August 10 2008 15:34:12
Spider did a tour with Alice Cooper but didn't get out on the road as much as they should have- greater exposure might have put them on the map- then again...
#4 | rostoned on August 11 2008 22:11:05
Eric very ironically Alice Cooper's new album is called 'Along Came A SPIDER'...
#5 | sabace on September 30 2008 15:04:38
gawd! amanda is lovely!
#6 | swazi on December 26 2013 20:08:17
Renaissance Records released their debut and this one as a 2on1 CD in 2004.
Does anyone own this release and can tell me something about its quality, please ?
#7 | reyno-roxx on December 27 2013 15:41:00
Quality is very good on the CD 2 on 1....the band were involved to a degree.
#8 | super80boy on July 02 2016 00:04:21
Amanda Blue has the AOR pipes but also the 80's sexy looks on this album, just look at the front and (especially) back vinyl jacket! Synth touches are quite prominent in 'Going By' and 'Change', I've also liked the AOR new wave rock mix. I like the big shift to a driving rocker in 'I Think I Like It'. The guitar work in 'Can't Live This Way Anymore' is a big positive, an album standout for me. Agreed whole heartedly, a weak moment occurs with 'Faces Are Changing', but the album ends with two strong cuts.
 
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