EP Review – Pale Spectres by Pales Spectres (2017) (Cloudberry Records)

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If you do not know the Cloudberry Cake Proselytism V.3 blog that is run by Roque of Cloudberry Records then you are possibly missing out on the best blog out there for discovering / reminding you of obscure jangle/indie pop greats of yesteryear and the future. It is the blog I have been reading for the longest. It is ‘the’ blog that never disappoints.

As such it was no surprise when Cloudberry added this French five piece to their roster, for they twist modern twee style vocals (think The Yellow Melodies with a less pronounced Parisian accent) around just about every vital 80s jangled indie-pop reference point that you can possibly think of.

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Stand out track and opener, Dr(i)ving (see below), is possibly the most modern inflected of the four tracks, utilizing the crisp, bouncing, robust jangled clarity that bands such as Young Scum and the Holy Tunics are receiving current critical acclaim for and adding the sort of  shy vocals that frequented a thousand Sarah Records sounds in the late 80’s and early 90s. The mixture of the robust modern and the hushed vocals should clash, but Pale Spectres make it work from both angles and any clash is comfortably lies with the realms of originality.

Dr(i)ving


The second track, Bicycles, is the one that garnered the most critical acclaim and radio play and also appears to be the ‘streamers delight’ across the numerous streaming sites. It is easy to see why, as the track visits numerous 80/90s influences. Initially the track starts off with the sort of incidental fluttering jangle-pop of The Sundays and seems to cling to this belief for a limited time before adding a rotund almost post-punk saturated bass line to proceedings. These would threaten to dominate if it was not juxtaposed to a the sort of casual melodies that are reminiscent of The Lightning Seeds or The La’s.

Didn’t Know Where To Go

The final two tracks continue to mine the 80’s indie/jangle-pop influences. The superlative I Didn’t Know Where To Go (see above) has a dominant fragile tinny riff that is reminiscent of The Groove Farm and the final track, Goodbye, has that early 90’s Madchester echoed and distant vocals that the early Primal Scream and the Stone Roses used with constant and brilliant effect. Such influences might be considered as utilized too faithfully if it were not for the fact that the twee shyness of the Sarah-esque vocal delivery somehow ensures total originality.

Cloudberry Records, never seem to back a loser…and they most certainly have not here.

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