Friday, January 25, 2013
Spectres : Nothing to Nowhere
While they don't have the sleaze or junkie grime I associate with death rock, they do fall into this goth revival. Somewhere in between Joy Division and Echo& the Bunnymen, they offer up concise re-verb soaked punches of post punk. This album sounds great, captures the mood of the time without sacrificing clarity or production value. They do lean in the direction of punk, mainly when it comes to vocal phrasing but I think this helps them establish their own identity rather than being an 80s goth tribute.
The grave dancing begins with"Between to lines" and its slinky Bauhaus like bass line. The vocals are very dead pan almost monotone yet They have enough intonation to carry the somgs. It is interesting how they have a moodier opening to the album, when the bulk of the songs are very straight forward almost punk in feel...well I guess t one time this would have been considered punk.
There is some great sounding guitar on " Passages" . I really appreciate while these guys are going a Cramps meet Joy Division route they aren't skimping on the balls and just pumping put darkly effected indie rock. "Remote Viewing" doesn't change gears too much, melody in both guitar and vocals has a similar pacing as the previous song . It's not until the change in the final third of the song does it really have a life of its own.
The bass leads into "Amnesia" allowing the guitar to hang back and accent, the songs bounce. This song clicked for me after several listens, yesterday I just played the album on an endless repeat and a lot of it blended together for me as a mood rather than as a collection of songs. It going back into this morning this song stands out.
I wonder if they are reffering to the Internet based urban legend on "Slender man" ? the lyrics seem abstract through out the album. The paces shifts from a moodie dirge to upbeat post punk at the minute mark. Very bass driven like early Cure. The guitar melodies aren't as catchy as Robert Smith's work, but in comparison with one of my favorite guitarists of all time ...is it really fair to ask. Their tends to be enough variance to keep me entertained here. I doubt this revival stuff will hold up over time like the originals, but should fare better than the Interpol's and She Wants Revenges.
"Decompemsation" the bass plods in like a train wobbling on the tracks. It's very straight forward and as I mentioned before the guitar work sounds good but on the more simplistic arrangements doesn't compensate. The drums lead into "Missing Time" and while they are competent no where on the album are they asked to be stunning. The addition of synth here and the lowered vocals are additions to the sound here and smartly so as it was time to switch it up. By lowered more noticeably placed in a solid baritone, they never get into the Sisters of Mercy register.
I like the opening riff to the title track, it has a more of a Bauhaus creepiness , which I endorse as if you aren't going to be heavy then I need you to be dark or sonically intense. The vocals kind of playfully bounce off the build up like they are unsure where to go but it's not a distraction, it feels like they were going for more of a "In the Flat field" thing but given the singers limited range vocally it couldn't reach that point, I like the change in the songs third act which makes up for it.
"Maison Gris" keeps it creepy, the guitar hangs back and the singer strains up into the breaking up of his upper register, the production on the vocals smoothes this out and makes it work. I also when the drums switched to the floor toms. "Return to Sea" reminds me of Cult of Youth as it has a little more of a New Model Army frolic to their sound.
while I like it the song takes a weird turn as it transitions into a darker more drum propelled coda where the title is chanted.
I can give this one a nine as though two songs were unoffensivly simplistic I felt they didn't add anything and were filler, but a whole this is one of those albums I can just leave playing and it fits my mood more often than not. The Spectres are deservedly one of the bigger bands In the modern goth revival and I'll keep an eye out for their earlier work.