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Broken Record #30
Sonic Cathedral's latest signings Spectres are just about to release their no-holds-barred debut album, Dying. It's an intense, rackety listen which seems to be taking itself quite seriously from the outset, but it's also surprisingly accessible, perhaps due to the fact that they've been influenced by some of the albums listed here (along with the more obvious noise greats like MBV and Sonic Youth). In this Broken Record interview, the band (Joe Hatt - Guitar + Vocals, Darren Frost - Bass + Vocals, Adrian Dutt - Guitar and Andy Came - Drums) talk to us about their individual record collections which have probably gone some way to shaping their combined sound.
Dissonance, confrontation, noise - this record smacked me round the face and pulled me out of my comfort zone. I could hear feedback being manipulated into arcing melodies, basslines throbbing like a heartbeat and a voice which was spitting in my face (literally when I saw them live). I really started exploring how I could play guitar from this record, they pushed boundaries which I had never been seen pushed before. I loved how this record split opinion, most of my friends hated them, my girlfriend at the time hated them, but they ticked all my boxes and I loved them. I tracked down all their back catalogue, went to their live show and started listening to all the bands they were referencing in interviews. For me this LP opened my eyes and made me not want to play it safe anymore. LISTEN TO THIS RECORD!
I was 17 when this record came out, and all I cared about was skateboarding and skatepunk. It stuck out from everything else I was listening to at the time, something about the guitars and Matt Prior's voice just stuck with me. I knew then that I wanted to play guitar, and I wanted to be in a band. The other really important thing with this record is the artwork, I obsessed over it, and it began my career in illustration, I realised how important the whole 'package' of a record was, and how you can reflect the world you create on record, with a strong cover image/artwork, which is something I carried through to Spectres. I could write an essay on this album, what it means to me, the exact times it reminds me of, why it inspired me and how it led me into a new exciting world of bands and labels. Most importantly though, I saw a bunch of guys playing music and having the most fun ever and I decided I wanted to do that one day.
I remember being about 16 and there was a band called These Arms Are Snakes playing in my hometown Exeter. I only wanted to go to the show because I liked their name. The gig was mind blowing and it was very intimidating watching their singer Steve Snere use a chair in ways that you wouldn't think were possible. Most of set was from their debut album Oxeneers which to this day it is still one of my favourite albums; gnarly, abrasive, punk at its best. The album had a massive influence on my music taste and opened my eyes to many other things.
SLG LYF was a phrase that was coined on one of our tours a few years back when we came across a discarded take away chip box full of water, mayonnaise and slugs. It felt like a very accurate representation of what our lives had become by the end of that tour; slugs sliming up and down the country leaving a trail of noise. This album was the soundtrack to that tour. 'Fall Back' is a particular highlight and can be heard throughout this tour diary that really shouldn't be anywhere near anyones eyes or ears (link) It just so happened to be my personal album of the year, a year that was ended by us supporting them in Bristol. Me with a dislocated knee, in true SLG LYF fashion.
This was the album that 'got me into music' and the band that made me pick up my guitar again after breaking my dads heart by giving up a few years previous. The excitement I felt the day the album came out (didn't hear it until the release date; the only thing leaking back then was me with anticipation) was almost feverous. I played the whole thing start to finish on the radio show some friends and I used to do at college; we thought we were very cool. Looking back, I remember it being totally electric and utterly essential. It was the first band I obsessed over, mining all their influences, leading me into a whole new world of musical discovery. I think I saw them 9 times over their heyday, watching them slowly deteriorate into some weird car crash with Kele behind the wheel, but I still love them, and Silent Alarm will probably always be in my top ten.
I don't believe in guilty pleasures, but this would be to some people. It's a best of, but I don't think it counts when it comes to mega pop stars, it's possibly the greatest greatest hits album of all time. Every track is solid gold, perfect pop. It was around the house when I was growing up, it might've been the first CD my mum bought. The little disc was a great deal easier for me to wield than the big old vinyl, so I took to it. I've bought it twice since. "Into the Groove" is in the higher reaches of my top 10 songs of all time. The only thing I can fault with this album is the omission of "True Blue", but that's a minor gripe.
I don't understand why Elbow are so big and so respected in Britain. I don't hate their music, It just baffles me how high they've risen, reaching National Treasure status by doing not very much. They put out some albums that are pretty edgy and forward thinking if you listen to Coldplay and Keane. Maybe it's because Guy Garvey is seen as a nice chap, a down to earth "proper bloke", without the arrogance, rock & roll swagger or even "coolness" of many contemporaries. Elbow are the Tony Hibbert of British guitar music - never really very good, but somehow, against all odds and logic, still at the top of their profession.