Since the release of their debut ‘Dying’ in 2015, Spectres have been busy boys. They released the remix album ‘Dead’ which features a host of other artists including: Mogwai, Factory Floor and Hookworms remix versions of the band’s aggressive noisy shoegaze into something vaguely resembling ambient trance music, embarking on decibel-destroying, ear-splitting tours, as well as releasing an unofficial song for the Bond film which shares their namesake.
It’s understandable then that the bands original plan to hole themselves up in a studio/monastery and experiment with electronics and synths for their sophomore effort didn’t exactly go as expected; but then, what else would we expect from Spectres?
The video for first single ‘Dissolve’ mostly features the band topless, smothered in curiously coloured grey gloop and sinisterly oscillating their heads, which later descends into being scolded and set upon by uncensored fully naked men. To top it off, the single clocks in at a whopping 7:35 which is hardly a radio-friendly unit shifter to plug an upcoming album. In fact, the average song length on ‘Condition’ is nearly 6 minutes, with the last 3 songs: ‘Colour Me Out’, ‘End Waltz’ (which is the penultimate rather than, as the name suggests, final track on the record) and ‘Coping Mechanism’ almost seamlessly blending together to create a monolithic 20-minute fuzz-fest.
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Despite all this wilful, almost gleeful abandonment of the rules though, Spectres do sneak some more mainstream flourishes in. The aforementioned ‘Dissolve’ has a slinky, Pixies-esque, borderline-groovy bassline hook and ‘Neck’ sounds like the kind of mosh pit-friendly riot of Kasabian or Doves put through a shredder and pieced back together with nothing more than spit, plasters and whatever that sticky stuff is on the bottom of your shoe.
However, it’s another band that continue to defy the music industry, that puncture the quiet moments in their music with manic distorted freak-outs and have also shared an unofficial Bond theme that is far better than the official wailing, warbling ‘Writing’s On The Wall’ that Spectres can probably be most favourably compared to. Of course, the answer is Radiohead. The quiet, almost breath like vocals and close harmonies backed by a steady beat and interjecting effects-laden guitars that transcend into the cacophonous anthemic anathema that the latter band made their hallmark. ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ and album closer ‘Coping Mechanism’ could fit easily onto ‘The Bends’. If that record was designed only to be played in literal decompression chambers on-board echoing, forgotten, rusting Cold War nuclear submarines.
Essentially, ‘Condition’ is an album for modern times. Abrasive “anti-music” that feeds your frustration and anger, and you go utterly wild at a gig for because there’s nothing else to look forward to when you get home.
21/03/17 – UK – Ramsgate – Ramsgate Music Hall
23/03/17 – UK – London – Birthdays
25/03/17 – UK – Falmouth – Mono
19/04/17 – UK – Nottingham – The Angel
21/04/17 – UK – Glasgow – Nice N Sleazy
22/04/17 – UK – Edinburgh – Sneaky Pete’s
23/04/17 – UK – Sunderland – The Museum Vaults – afternoon show
24/04/17 – UK – Leeds – Brudenell Social Club
25/04/17 – UK – Birmingham – Hare & Hounds
26/04/17 – UK – Oxford – The Cellar
27/04/17 – UK – Rugby – Venue TBA
28/04/17 – UK – Brighton – The Hope & Ruin
29/04/17 – UK – Bristol – The Exchange