Spider Through the Fog

by Ghost of Monkshood

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Pitchfork: [7.3] In the Year of the Wolf (Bands), Ghost of Monkshood missed it by a hair: Monkshood is another name for aconite, aka wolfsbane. Aconite's a sedative, but also a poison, and hoo boy somebody stop me before I start constructing one of those specious metaphors linking a band's music to their (probably arbitrarily chosen) name. Nothing poisonous here anyway, unless you're fatally allergic to the kind of music that tends to hover in place instead of moving. Spider Through the Fog is tranquilizer-dosed phantom folk drifting bodiless through veils of mist, medleys of cloudy ambiance marshaled into improbable pop songs. On the microphone, they came to haze and amaze you: The murkier side of Animal Collective (that would be Panda Bear) after a Donovan binge, with snatches of Four Tet coming through the wall.

Put a bunch of smarty-pantses together with a random assortment of instruments (besides the usual accoutrements, Ghost of Monkshood reached into the grab bag and found a banjo, a trumpet, a sax) and one of two things happens-- one, they subjugate craft to pretension and record an unlistenable mess that wants to be hailed as ambitious and challenging, placing the burden on the listener, like here, we recorded the thing, now you figure out how to enjoy it, and don't forget to be smart enough to get it. The other option is that the band makes sure they have actual songs and aren't just deconstructing thin air, like the aforementioned Animal Collective, Architecture in Helsinki, and yep, Ghost of Monkshood. Seventeen tracks is too many for, say, a rock album, which ultimately wants to propel you out of it and into the world, but it's just right for Ghost of Monkshood, whose music encourages staying inside it, and needs the extra time to work its gradual hypnosis.

Spider Through the Fog immediately immerses you in a rich drone ricocheting between the right and left channels, establishing the limits of the echo chamber the album will ramify within. For the duration, Ghost of Monkshood enliven pillowy analog static and acoustic guitars with flower-child vocals and flickers of vivid detail: There's the weirdly rickety guitar solo on "I Take It"; the ghost of G-funk whistling through "Traces of the Cave"; the gnarled cassette-tape-suicide on "Goddess Hand"; the sudden funk capping "In the Night"; the busted music box on "Capsized". The sweet and the sinister get equal time on Spider Through the Snow, often becoming so blurred as to be indistinguishable, and its to Ghost of Monkshood's credit that the album still comes off as an affable, pleasant surprise, not an endurance test."

— Brian Howe, October 3, 2005


released March 15, 2005

Produced by Chase Spivey & Chris McDaniel
Album art by Chris McDaniel



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Ghost of Monkshood Norman, Oklahoma

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Track Name: Twenty Odd Years
How would you like to spend twenty odd years alone?
Working for someone else, searching for your own?
How would you like a kiss? How would you like to live?

How would you like to feel the way you used to feel?
Twenty odd years ago, questioning what's real?
How would you like to see with new eyes again?

You will never spend twenty odd years alone
digging through the past with memories for a home
so plug yourself right in and let it begin
Track Name: The Children Have Power
Now who would create you only to incite you and then hate you for what you do
Being young isn't quite there, it turns to a nightmare if you're not careful where you run

Beat up, thrown down, don't make a sound
Know the children have power

Born free of assumption, all children know something of which you know nothing once you give in

Tread light, stay strong, keep your head on
Know the children have power
Track Name: It's Not My Problem
You can tell me I'm living in sin
I know you think the world has dragged me in
But life isn't that simple and you've got a lot to learn
It's not my problem if you think I'm gonna burn

You keep reading your little black book
You keep shooting that condescending look
But life's too short for these games they make you play
It's not my problem, I'll love you anyway
Track Name: I Take It
In the back of my head is the apology I've written for you
It's going strong, going now, take the time, take the words and let go
It's not my fault that I can't see you through this discarded word pile
It's way too early to be telling why I'm nervous, why am I nervous, where has nervous ever gotten me?

I take it and take it
where does it take me to?

From the roots of this cause there's a little man crawling into a mind he used to know
It's a medicated time, it's a doctrinated world, it's getting harder every day to let go
Can't we talk about the sky or waterfalls, it's beautiful outside if we tear down every wall
And every night I have a dream of something going down, it's something natural and getting stronger with every sound.

I take it and take it
where does it take me to?
Track Name: Know Thy Ways
Know thy ways
no disgrace

How well do you know yourself?
you might be surprised to find
how foreign is your mind
could it be that you wanted to know
but fear where it will go
denial doesn't change your heart
it will only split you apart
you don't have to act on what you find
it just helps to keep it in mind
there are those who will feed you guilt
and add you to their quilt
they will lie to you
why lie to yourself?

Know thy ways
no disgrace
Track Name: Indecision
I don't know what I'm saying
and it's so hard to try
kick me over, change my colors
why can't we kick this indecision?
and the weather's unkind
looping over the sky
look out for no one
the world's a setting sun
now you and I have come undone
Track Name: Where Does Your World Come From?
Where does your world come from?
How does it grow? Was it fed on nonsense all those years ago? It's a focused nightmare with it's eyes down low. Will it turn on you? I would let it go.

You've got a line to the almighty or so you've said. I think your confidence is frightening, like lightning to your head. There were times when you were younger when it filled you up with dread, so you've pawned the heat off on me to make room for the righteous dead.
Track Name: In the Night
You can't become perfect tonight
but word on the street is you might
you cannot have freedom in sight
by knocking down doors in the night
Whatever's in style will pass for denial

Get back to your drip-stormy face
what passes for the human race?

We're back in our prisons tonight
waisting our time asking why
all we can do is say we tried
for ours is a never-ending plight
Track Name: Capsized
Her sign is a scepter
she rules your kingdom and the sun
her market unending
she has no time for anyone
she pulls your sleeve and you
can't help but marvel at her style
one bath of her flavor
you'll be capsized for quite a while
Track Name: Funny
Warm milk and honey makes me feel funny
hold me in sunny times

I can't recall how we denied it
once lost we can never find it
it's not a question of time
my star's left the sky

Oh, to find once again it ends and begins
a face with a name recalled through the rain
replacing them all to put up a wall
supplanting your soul your fire is her coal
but oh, to be burned, her flame you have yearned

I want to have someone to sing to
I want to climb in through your window
it's not a question of then, it's where to begin

You can only pretend our season won't end
it always feels strange when your life's rearranged
now there's no one at fault, you take it with salt
and leave with a smile for after a while
your memory grows dim, you return once again

Warm milk and honey makes me feel funny
hold me in sunny times
Track Name: Goddess Hand
Dear mother I've brought you some honey
dear mother and I brought some money
I defend you to my friends
I keep your picture so it won't bend
and I'm holding onto that old goddess hand

I heard her sing just like a magpie
in a world of madness wishing to die
still she's good for a laugh
and she'll give you an autograph
holding onto that old goddess hand

I'm holding the goddess hand
pretending not to understand
why those arms love to hold a man
I'm holding the goddess hand
taking off my shoes to stand
before the door she showed me before

Yes I'm still here waiting for the news
dust farmer tracking dirt in her carpet pews
there in the old preacher's soul
knowing he's grown to old
to hold on to that old goddess hand
Track Name: What a Predicament
What a predicament this
What a predicament this is
What a predicament this is, for your life's gone, for your light's gone

Can't help but eat all this biz
swallowing up all this cannibal biz
born into dining on whatever this is
till your soul's gone or your mind's grown

How can I explain it to you if I don't know if it's true?
how can I expect you to know what's not explained to you?
I woke up today with one less thing to say
and everything I see seems one step further away
Track Name: Morning Glory
There was a time when you asked to know the truth and she lied and you acquiesced to go along with something that you'd regret. Now that it's done it's difficult to admit it was fun and she, from her perch, has left your eyes and heart and mind in a lurch.

All through the day, you're alight inside and then in dismay, and she, still at bay, will be pulling on you every which way. Never will she stray or awkwardly deny what you say. Giving you just enough, is it your fault or her's that things are this tough?

I can always rely on never finding a clue
if I would've known what you would do
only now can this moment be undone
in all certainty I know it's all clear under the sun

Now something's changed, the air is warmer and your feelings have changed. Sunlight on her face will soon make sleeping in feel like such a waist. Oh, she has bloomed, the days have turned aside from the path of the doomed and buds from her tips are just her way of saying you've survived it.
Track Name: Spiders March
You go moaning, like a storm finding the storm
I go on-ing, like a slow-motional child

You go on, spiders of love marching along
We go on, spiders in love marching alone

We connected in a hip-sational way
it feels long gone, cast aside, faded to grey

You go on, spiders of love marching along
We go on, spiders in love marching alone
Track Name: Side by Side
There's a girl who doesn't look away
she has grace and doesn't care for games
on her face a smile seems to say
"everything's fine, life's a good time"

There's a boy who doesn't know what to say
he took longer than the others to learn the game
on his face a smile for the day
cause everything's fine, life is sublime
side by side how nice to pass the time in smiles

Oh, what a happy day
side by side
Track Name: Touch
Like a delight of the Gods
we go round the mind tonight
enchanting our every flight of fancy
regaining our humanity
I will watch you be
you will let me live