Condition (Sonic Cathedral)
Rock / Pop
The follow-up to their acclaimed 2015 debut, ‘Dying’, it was recorded by Dominic Mitchison in the band’s adopted home city of Bristol and mastered by Frank Arkwright (Mogwai, 65daysofstatic) at Abbey Road in London. It’s louder and more abrasive than their debut, but also a real progression. It sounds huge and adds a genuinely innovative and confrontational edge, partly inspired by last year’s remix album, ‘Dead’, which saw everyone from Factory Floor to Richard Fearless instructed to “kill” the songs from ‘Dying’.
“There were discussions about experimenting with electronics, but the idea soon petered out when we realised we still wanted to experiment with guitars,” reveals singer and guitarist Joe Hatt. As a result tracks such as ‘End Waltz’ have a relentlessly pounding, almost techno structure, in contrast to the kinetosis-inducing dirge of ‘Dissolve’ – the first single from the album that came with a suitably stomach-churning video late last year. Elsewhere the almost restrained (by Spectres’ standards) white noise and wordplay of ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ and the sprawling ‘Colour Me Out’ are counterbalanced by brutal assaults such as ‘Neck’ and ‘Welcoming The Flowers’, which keeps threatening to drown itself in its own roiling diamond sea. “On this album we became even less interested in actually playing guitar,” explains Hatt, “which meant that we got more into experimenting with the sounds we could get out of them when brutalising them and letting the feedback do the talking.”