This enthralling purgatory
Spectres live at Sticky Mike's


Sticky Mike's, Brighton - 5th March 2015
We’ll admit that Spectres at Sticky Mike’s causes us some concerns. However great they are, it is difficult to imagine the Bristol four-piece selling out a venue twice the size of The Hope and it is a relief to see such a decent crowd beginning to build up. Interestingly, the audience contains a far greater number of women, and especially young women, than were seen at the PINS gig the previous week. For a band who cultivate no image and who are certainly no press darlings, this is impressive indeed, speaking volumes for the quality of the work they are currently producing.

Having visited Brighton as recently as December where they played an astonishing set at the Green Door Store during Wire’s DRILL Festival, Spectres’ return is in order to promote the release of their debut album Dying, surely one of the heaviest records ever put out by Sonic Cathedral, a dirty swathe of guitar mayhem loosely draped around some songs. We like a band to look like a band, and Spectres certainly don’t; they could well be four random strangers dragged off the street, lightly dusted down and propped up on stage, but when they begin to play they sure as hell sound like a band.

The recent revival in the indie scene has thrown up many shadows of the past, but one glaring difference between bands of this era and bands of yesterday is that the current crop of musicians understand noise. In the past, odd groups may have thrown in some noise here and there to create an impact, but very rarely did they shape it, nurture it and build it up into layers and patterns that both captivate and astound. From the first note to the last Spectres achieve this; some in the audience nod their heads, others simply stand and stare with open mouths. These boys make a colossal sound that sends your senses reeling and fills your soul with unbridled joy despite the underlying darkness of their music.

On record Spectres sound wild enough; on stage they trump that exponentially. The volume is loud, but not unecessarily so, just enough to send your brain spinning, and the pressure never eases, the intensity building throughout the set. It’s pointless trying to make out what Joe Hatt is singing, though his vocals do add another layer to the mix, but his guitar is far more eloquent and when Adrian Dutt throws in his offering, they manage to both scrape the bowels of hell and reach for the highest stars.

As the set clambers to its finale, Darren Frost falls to the floor to drag more noise from his screaming bass, while Hatt holds an effects pedal to his strings, Dutt loses himself in the glory of it all, and drummer Andy Came beats hard to break through the chaos. It’s ferocious, overwhelming and utterly compelling.

That bands such as Spectres can survive and prosper says much about the happy times we live in, and not a little for the discernment of the alternative public. Quality is a rare commodity so this is a band to be treasured. Buy their record, give them food, lend them a razor, but make damned sure you don’t miss them if they come to your town. They’ll blow it away ...


Words: Adam Hammond
Photos by Guy Christie
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