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A review of...
Dying by Spectres
Uncompromising debut from Bristol-based four-piece
Spectres would, on paper, seem to be quite moribund individuals. Their band name conjures up death, their album is called Dying and their music has a gritty, pessimistic edge to it, which can be quite overwhelming when combined with the screaming wall of sound that they produce. Maybe Spectres are the perfect band to soundtrack the rather depressing start we've had to 2015. Formed in Barnstaple, and apparently spurred on by ambivalent audiences* to create music that was more and more confrontational, Spectres have arrived on the national stage with an album which could very much be seen as a continuation of that mentality. Their debut opens with a low rumbling of static and feedback ("Drag"), and segues into a slightly more tuneful (but still quite dirty) blast of space rock ("Where Flies Sleep"). Dying is a thoroughly relentless and often fairly brutal racket, but all this is tempered by a soothing vocal (which makes them sound a bit like an angry Beta Band) and a subtle shades of classic indie melody. Many of the tracks have moments of dreamy respite before kicking off again, back to the realm of nightmares where Spectres seem most comfortable. This is definitely something which will polarise their audience (it's probably not the sort of music you should listen to with a hangover/headache), but Spectres are committed enough to just roll with it. I don't know what I expected a band from North Devon to sound like, but it wasn't this.
"Family" - A hypnotic vocal and guitar line make way for a crashing barrage of anthemic noise on this loud/quiet gem.
"This Purgatory" - the album's "long song", this is a masterful display of restrained mood and atmosphere.
* Singer Joe Hatt puts this best - "When people hated us we just played harder. We want to snap people out of their comfort zones. We want our noise to smack the spoon out of their mouths that is feeding them the warm diarrhoea that is served by start-up PR companies. We want people to have to notice and have to react, not look at their phones or talk their friend who is looking at their phone.”