Spectrums are a Washington DC based three piece, consisting of David Barker, Simon Ley and David Nicholas who have previously been part of bands such as Cobra Collective, The Third Programme and Sansyou.
Spectrums take the Sanyou sound as a foundation and add numerous extra layers, as they become the latest in a decidedly small number of bands that are somehow successful in blurring the lines between post-rock and jangle-pop to such an extent, that they constantly twist and challenge the very parameters that have so rigidly defined the two genres..
Perhaps the most recent band with obvious similarities are the superb Newcastle (UK) based, The Finest Drops, who janglepophub have championED in our recent Fickle Finger series and within our best of ‘best of EPs’ article.
Spectrums utilize the same sort of chiming lead guitars as The Finest Drops. These hint at the best of 1980’s post-punk but simply sound cleaner, due to modern production techniques that reject the 80’s need to make every post-punk track sound as though it had been recorded from under a ghosts armpit.
As such the clarity of tracks such as the opening What’s in the Box and Monarch enable the listener to hear every note as if it is a bizarrely separate entity to those that surround it, whilst at the same type literally forcing the listener to appreciate the genuine substance of the whole.
However, Spectrums also had the added nuance of being an entirely instrumental outfit. This can be a dangerous musical commodity to perfect as the very essence of instrumentals, can, in the wrong hands, mean that more and more musical bells and whistles are added until the sound becomes a sprawling ‘eton mess’ style recipe of self absorption.
No such accusations can be leveled at Spectrums who deliver tracks such as the absolutely superlative Catching Dart (see below) and Tokyo Tower, with a sub three minute grace and beauty that is reminiscent of the sound of the recent The BV’s instrumentals on Interpunktion and the deliberation and guile of the dominant Dirty Three aesthetic.
You will not find this band consistently punting themselves on every available social media or indulging themselves in the usual garish album artwork of post-rock fancy. They are all things simple…simply great.