Record Review: Spectrals


Bad Penny

West Yorkshire, UK

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“Intelligent, funny, soul-bearing album from singer/songwriter Louis Jones”

Arriving on the back of some largely justified buzz, mostly inspired by an atmospheric live show, Bad Penny is the debut album from Spectrals, the brain-child of 21-year-old Yorkshireman Louis Jones. With the exception of drums, played by his brother Will, this fully fleshed one-man band has created a dense album full of layered guitars, shimmering keys and effects.

Inspired by the music he grew up listening to as a child, Jones takes the sounds of pop, soul, surf, and garage rock and throws them in a blender. The end result is an album that confidently, though sometimes awkwardly, merges styles. Songs like “Many Happy Returns” and the sweetly drifting “Luck Is There to Be Pushed” dive fully into mellow ’50s mood music. Then there is the hazy punch of “Get a Grip” and the upbeat island sounds of “Big Baby.”

Recorded in one day with Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Hood, Telescopes, Spectrum) in early 2011, Bad Penny is compiled of eleven original songs documenting Jones’ relationship with his longtime girlfriend. “Love songs are the kind of songs I like,” he says. “Not all of them are nice, but they’re all feelings I’ve had.”

At only 21, Louis Jones still has a lifetime of love and (unfortunately) heartbreak left ahead of him, so don’t be surprised if you see a Spectrals box set out in the next ten years.  (Slumberland Records)

Produced by Richard Formby

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