Spectres Hindsight LP

Vancouver outfit that blends anarcho lyricism with post-punk while leaving room for some ’80s pop beats. If in print this sounds a little wandering, I recommend giving the first, politically-driven track “Cold War” a listen compared to the last track “Tell Me,” which comes off as a new wave love song—hanging in the balance is an album that achieves this reach. If you’re hooked, they’ve got four previous LPs at the ready.

Spectres Nostalgia LP

The unironically-titled new LP from SPECTRES exists in a world where the ’80s rule, with sonic nods to the CURE or MY BLOODY VALENTINE (sans distorted guitar), and it’s executed so flawlessly that it’s almost a problem. This backward-looking record, complete with authentically retro cover art, suffers from overly lush production. It’s just a bit too shimmering, too sparkling to the point you get an impression early on that nothing unexpected is going to happen (and then nothing does). I’m not saying that old-school-sounding synthwave isn’t up for grabs, I just prefer more urgency. Like when a band like HEKÀTÄ’ does it, the genre sounds vital to what they’re trying to express (and their songs are in Greek, no less). SPECTRES sound more like they’re building atmosphere while not particularly adding something novel to it, and it’s an all-too-familiar atmosphere. If this record were a piece of furniture, it would be an immaculate glass coffee table. There’s no doubt they can play, but I like to see a bit more grit and dirt with my post-punk. I guess we’re nostalgic for different things.

Spectres Provincial Wake / Northern Towns 7″

With the first track’s jangly and grippingly catchy intro, it’s hard to believe this record was recorded just a couple years ago and not in the ’80s. The cover artwork looks like a faithful re-enactment of an ’80s pop album, foreshadowing a change in direction from the band’s earlier darkwave releases. The second track does tend back toward the dark side of new wave, with influences like the SMITHS or the JESUS AND MARY CHAIN. Both tracks are worthy of being played on repeat while you wait for SPECTRES’ new full-length.