Spectres are fond of antagonising their audience. Fans in the vicinity of the band’s renowned and ferocious live set will leave with agonised ear drums and sad souls, while unwitting shoppers who happen to be perusing the record shelves could be similarly discomfited by their album artwork. A man’s agonised, desperate, drowning face graced the cover of their first full length, the aptly entitled Dying, and a contorted amalgam of human and fungus is seen on the cover of their new LP, Condition.
It’s fair to say that you can expect extremes of behaviour from Spectres. But, though you can expect, you can never predict. Album opener The Beginning of an End kicks off proceedings in a curiously subdued fashion, whereas Rubber Plant deals in percussive guitar and off-kilter rhythms that are similarly atypical of the band’s output. Welcoming The Flowers meanwhile is more familiar: vivid, lucid, nightmarish guitars, pounding drums and little respite, and any low-key section is steeped in anticipation for the more overtly terrifying part that will follow. Such is the appeal of Spectres: they are not necessarily for people who wish to actually enjoy music in the conventional sense. Instead, they continue to carve their niche amongst listeners who wish to be moved, shaken, challenged and disgusted. A fitting soundtrack to the year’s dystopia.