Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Spectres : "Utopia"

Things have changed for the Vancouver post-punk band. They are exploring other edges of the era. There is a much more new wave mood to "Crosses and Wreathes" the opener of their new album. The guitar tones come out of the shadows and cast brighter chords on the chorus. The drift into more of an early darkwave sound on "Daniel" with synths playing a much bigger role this go around . The singer's voice has really improved since the last album. He is able to hold more of a melody and convey a greater range of emotion. Sure the punk side of the post-punk equation has been dialed back , but it's hard to argue with these results. That side of the band is not entirely forsaken as traces of it can be felt into the taunt pulse of "Figures in the Sand" which still holds more of an organic rock feel to it.

The album sounds great. No more lo-fi re-verb, all the instruments are in crisp earshot . The bass has a thicker growl to it that punches a song like "New Buildings" into a more forceful direction. The vocals come up out of the typical baritone as they muse of over the feedback and minimal drums the song breaks down into, before lashing out with something closer to punk. They never fully default into something fully reminiscent of their older sound, it's touched upon on"Revisions", but the vocals are a little higher with a hopeful hint to the melody against the guitar' s sonic sense of  sadness .

The intensity gets kicked up a notch on "Strange Weather". The vocals have a plaintive punk quality to them that reminds me of the Ramones. The bass punches around the drums with more finesse than a punk band can normally muster. Like most good post-punk the bass is up front in the mix and driving the song. This is displayed perfectly on " Vertigo". The vocal melody is more hooky here without even trying. The new and improved Spectres, might take some getting use to for some. The songs are fun and well written, I have little qualms with this one, of course I always want every thing to be a little darker , but for what this is I shall give it a 9. check out the live version of "Crosses and Wreathes " below.

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