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LIME SPIDERS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Slave Girl EP (Big Time) 1985
The Cave Comes Alive! (Virgin) 1987
Weirdo Libido EP (Aus. Virgin) 1987
Headcleaner (Aus. Virgin) 1988
Volatile (Caroline) 1988
Beethoven's Fist (Fun After All) 1990

The excellent retro-rock that fills the Lime Spiders' aptly titled Cave Comes Alive! album gleefully plunders various '60s punk vaults. Rather than imitating any specific genre, this quartet from Sydney, Australia synthesizes an original version of that musical era with searing guitars, Tony Bambach's exceptional bass work, occasional churning organ, raveup drumming and Mick Blood's hardy singing. Sketchy but unaffected production allows the group to color their songs (plus a swell cover of Cream's "NSU" and a couple of more obscure non-originals) in different shades of black leather, dayglo green and deep purple.

Slave Girl is a compilation of the band's first two Australian 45s: a 1983 double 7-inch and "Slave Girl"/"Beyond the Fringe." Headcleaner is a sixteen-track compilation.

The Spiders' second album is well played but miserably plain, utterly lacking The Cave's colorful personality. With dumb lyrics and pedestrian hard-rock that is less inspired by the past than mired in it, Volatile does have a few stick-to-your-ribs tunes ("The Other Side of You," the CD-only "Jagged Edge"), but is otherwise old-fashioned in the worst possible way. A needless dance mix of the dismal title track is among the three CD bonuses.

[Mark Fleischmann/Ira Robbins/Glenn Kenny]