Louis Jones and his brother Will, the duo behind Spectrals, are two 20-something slackers from Heckmondwike, Yorkshire — but on the evidence of Sob Story, they have the blood of classic rock ‘n’ rollers running through their veins.
On their second album, produced by Chet “JR” White (Girls), the two channel the ghosts of proto rockers like Buddy Holly with vintage-sounding tunes that imagine indie rock as an old-school sock hop. Though the Joneses have a penchant for lo-fi recording, there is a wonderfully clean sensibility to their songs: Louis’s riffs are distortion-free, and his twanging notes evoke Lefty Frizzell and Conway Twitty; and Will’s backbeats are crisper than newly-cleaned sheets.
But their influences stretch beyond ’50s rock ‘n’ roll. “In a Bad Way” mimicks the kaleidoscopic psychedelia of the Beatles at their weirdest and “Gentle” is powered by knotty lead guitars. Best of all might be the title track: “Sob Story” is a heartbreaking country-style ballad, with weepy dobro lines and Louis’s self-aware tale of a heartbroken sad-sack. “Another sob story…do you think any less of me?” Judging by Spectrals’ latest effort, they couldn’t be more wrong.