Spectres "Utopia" LP
“Utopia” is an 8-song offering of gloomy and compelling gothy postpunk that shows the five piece evolving further along the road to more complex melodies, guitar lines, and singer Brian Gustavson pushing his vocals into higher ranges, adding a more dynamic cast to the overall song selections here. Put bluntly, Utopia is a magical postpunk masterpiece: while the Spectres’ earliest EPs and songs had a gritty Warsaw/Crisis feel, Utopia is a lush and shimmering document of doomy greatness, one of the crowning albums of the current postpunk and deathrock revival. It’s more firmly in the ballpark of bands like The Sound or the early 4AD “lush” postpunk bands of the early 1980s than the band’s earlier material. Utopia is the band’s 3rd LP and was recorded in 2015, but has been delayed for various reasons. It showcases an evolution towards a more nuanced sound – the vocals are more echoey, the guitars feel more atmospheric and shimmery, and Nathan Szilagyi’s driving bass provides a firm underpinning for each track. On tracks like the penultimate “Strange Weather” – which was originally supposed to be the title of their last LP – Mitch Allen’s drumming chops shine through brilliantly.