brocken spectre - grand kids
Brocken Spectre released a single last year called “Parallel Dances” that is an infectious, melodic single that would sit very comfortably with music fans who have a knack for bands like Local Natives and Grizzly Bear. Check their single out if you haven’t heard it yet. They got a little bit of attention from their single and it motivated them to create an EP, which would eventually become Grand Kids. It’s a six-song that while isn’t innovative enough to make you jump to the heavens and claim you found the next big thing but instead brings a nice flow of chamber pop that’s delicately crafted enough to keep you and your friends interested. Brocken Spectre is a four -piece composed of Colin Ablitt (vocals, guitar), Colin Campbell (drums), Andrew Cleasby (bass, vocals) and Nic Campbell (guitar, synth, vocals). Ablitt is diverse vocalist who isn't afraid to use his falsetto voice. For the most part the vocals are straightforward. They are pretty raw, don’t have a lot of reverb on them and are rarely manipulated. Campbell is an impressive drummer as he seems to meld to the songs and brings a wide palette of distinctive beats. He uses rim shots to accents certain parts, knows when to restrain himself and knows when to control the song. Take a listen to “The Fourth Wall” which demonstrates some of his versatility.
In fact the first thing you hear on the album is Campbell. The song “Frost” starts with a drum beat that quickly gets submerged with an electric guitar whose picked notes are saturated with a soft, subtle warm distortion. Cleasby picks his spots wisely as the bass is not the focal point of this song but if his bass work was not there it would be immediately noticeable. “Marionette King” utilizes a fat, lead synth that made me get into dance mode but my feelings were premature as the song doesn’t head in that direction. Instead I was introduced to waves of cymbals and heavily reverbed guitars. The song was good but seemed to have a bit of an identity crisis and I am not sure it knew what it wanted to be. They were able to create a chill, relaxed atmosphere on “Anteros & I” that eventually picks up its pace and becomes the song that is most likely to get you out of your seat.
Grand Kids closes with the excellent “Corlioghost.” Everything seems to come together on this song. They found a very nice palette of sounds and tones that was missing from some of their previous songs. The song is a great way to close the album and feels like it ought to be continued. My guess is that they already have a full length in mind.
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