Spectrals, Sob Story

Kevin O'Donnell

By Kevin O'Donnell

on 07.08.13 in Reviews

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.

Imagining indie rock as an old-school sock hop

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.